Manhattan Project National Historical Park Act Passes in the House

December 8, 2014 by Nancy Tinker

Great News!! On December 4th, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which includes a provision to establish the Manhattan Project National Historical Park. Passing by a vote of 300 – 119, this legislation will create a three-unit national park with individual units established at Los Alamos, NM; Hanford, WA; and Oak Ridge, TN. We anticipate legislation will move swiftly, with the Senate expected to pass this bill without amendments before adjourning for the Christmas recess. Passage could occur as early as next week.

Establishment of this national park will ensure the protection of Manhattan Project sites for the American public and future generations. These resources include Hanford’s first-of-its-kind B Reactor, Oak Ridge, Tennessee’s Y-12 calutron plant, and Los Alamos, New Mexico’s laboratories where the first atomic weapons were assembled. Richard Rhodes, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Making of the Atomic Bomb explains, “When I write about history, it is essential for me to visit the places where the historical events happened. There are always surprises. It is one thing to a read document or interview people; but it is another thing to see the places where history happened."

The Manhattan Project National Historical Park will become one of the nation’s few parks to focus on American industry and to highlight the work of physicists, chemists, engineers, mathematicians and other scientists. The park could become a catalyst for teaching science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and increasing understanding of the nexus connecting science and society. Creation of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park has been many years in the making and creates opportunity for current and future generations to better understand this indisputable turning point in world history.

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