The Manhattan Project

In partnership with the National Museum of Nuclear Science & HistoryNational Museum of Nuclear Science & History

B Reactor

Roger Rohrbacher's Interview

Tell us your name.

Roger Rohrbacher: I'm Roger Rohrbacher. That’s R-O-H-R-B-A-C-H-E-R.

How did you come to Hanford?

Rohrbacher: In 1942 and '43, I was working for DuPont in an acid plant in Illinois and my buddies were disappearing. They ended up in Richland, so I got the map out and Richland, Pasco weren't even recorded on the map. I contacted them and I said, “What are you guys doing?”

They said, “We don't know.”

Roger Rohrbacher

Roger Rohrbacher was born in St. Paul, Minnesota on March 11, 1920. He graduated from Macalester College in 1942 with a degree in chemistry and physics. Rohrbacher joined the Manhattan Project and was sent to Hanford in early 1944. He worked as an instrument engineer at the B Reactor. Rohrbacher was tasked with measurign neutron flow and temperature pressure and radiation monitoring. 

Walter Simon

 

Walt Simon, a chemist, was Hanford's first Operations Manager. Before joining the Manhattan Project, he was plant manager at Wabash River Ordnance Works, a DuPont plant near Terre Haute, Indiana. He moved to Richland in the summer of 1944. He watched the B Reactor go critical, and then shut down due to the Xenon poisoning.

Dale Babcock's and Samuel McNeight's Interview (1965)

Stephane Groueff: Recording from Wilmington, Delaware. DuPont Company.

Samuel McNeight: I’ll say the major part of the reason why I ask Dale to come over with me was that Dale’s acquaintanceship and part in the Manhattan Project considerably pre-dates mine. Also, he was a part of the reactor group, which I was not. I had nothing to do with reactors.

Groueff: You had to do with the separations?

McNeight: The separations plants entirely.

Samuel McNeight

Samuel McNeight was a DuPont employee member who was a part of the team tasked with constructing the B Reactor at Hanford. McNeight contributed to buliding a water-cooled reactor and also participated in experiments to test the effects of radiation on the environment.

Louis Turner

Louis Turner, a metallurgical engineer, first became involved with the Manhattan Project at the University of Chicago in 1943. Turner worked at the “Dairy,” a codename for the place at the University where scientists researched methods to effectively can fuel elements for the nuclear reaction. After a brief stint at Oak Ridge working around the X-10 Graphite Reactor as a health-instrument scientist, Turner was transferred to Hanford where he spent much of his career conducting site surveys to monitor radiation levels in the surrounding area.

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