The Manhattan Project

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

B Reactor

Jack Hefner's Interview

S. L. Sanger: This is Hefner on June 11, 1986, interviewed at his residence in Richland.

Jack Hefner: The plant at Oak Ridge was operating to make enough samples of plutonium, so they could learn how to separate here at Hanford. Very few people said a great deal about that and knew much about it. And we only had this manner of need to know. So all our job was keep the plant operating. And the operating people was crank the plutonium out the door.

K. W. Greager's Interview

[Interviewed by Cynthia Kelly and Tom Zannes.]

K.W. Greager: Name is K.W. Greager, I go by Wally. Greager is spelled G-R-E-A-G-E-R, slightly different than the earlier Greager.

Tell us about when you started with Hanford.

Greager: I started working at Hanford after college in late 1951 on a rotational training program. I spent four years in the 300 Area—fuel preparation, slug preparation. I wound up out in the 100 Areas, the reactor areas, in 1956-57 time period. 

K. W. Greager

Wally Greager began working at Hanford in late 1951 after graduating from college. He talks about the different projects he worked on at Hanford, and describes the process of irradiating the fuel in the tubes in the B Reactor. 

Irénée du Pont, Jr.

Irénée du Pont, Jr. is a member of the storied du Pont family and the son of the President (1919 to 1925) of the E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company. The DuPont Company played a crucial role in the Manhattan Project; in 1942, DuPont was enlisted to design and build the project facilities at Hanford, including the B Reactor.

John Marshall's Interview

[At top is the edited version of the interview published by S. L. Sanger in Working on the Bomb: An Oral History of WWII Hanford, Portland State University, 1995.

For the full transcript that matches the audio of the interview, please scroll down.]

Book Version:

Norman Hilberry

Physicist Norman Hilberry was Arthur H. Compton's right-hand man at the Chicago Met Lab, serving as associate director and handling administration. Later in the war, he would often go back and forth from Chicago to Hanford. Hilberry recalls being present at the start-up of the B Reactor, its mysterious failure, and the rush to try to figure out what had caused the reactor to shut down.

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