The Manhattan Project

Hanford, WA

Robert Franklin

Robert Franklin is the assistant director of the Hanford History Project. In this role, he is the archivist and oral historian for the Department of Energy’s Hanford Collection and Washington State University’s collections on Hanford. He attended Washington State University in Pullman and earned his Master’s degree in history. In graduate school, he took a graduate-level seminar on the Hanford oral history project, which sparked his interest in Hanford and the impacts of the Manhattan Project on the rural, agricultural communities in Washington.

John Fox

John is a mechanical engineer who worked for the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Battelle. He later served as mayor of Richland, WA and president of the B Reactor Museum Association. In this interview, Fox recounts his experiences working at Hanford during the Cold War and the Korean War in the 1950s. He discusses the reprocessing ban instituted by the Carter Administration and the challenges that have caused delays in building the Vitrification Plant.

Gary Petersen's Interview

Cindy Kelly:   Okay. I’m Cindy Kelly. It is Monday, September 10, 2018, and I have with me Gary Petersen. My first question to Gary is to please say his full name and spell it.

Gary Petersen: Gary Petersen, P-e-t-e-r-s-e-n. Gary is G-a-r-y, so that’s easy.

Kelly:  Terrific. Well, Gary, you have the most fascinating history and I want to start with the beginning. Where and when you were born and your education. A little bit about what brought you to the Tri-Cities [Kennewick, Pasco, and Richland, Washington].

Gary Petersen

Gary Petersen is the former vice president of federal programs for TRIDEC, the Tri-City Development Council, which works to promote economic growth for Washington State’s Tri-Cities (Pasco, Kennewick, and Richland) area. Before TRIDEC, he worked at the Hanford site for Battelle, serving as news manager, and in the International Nuclear Safety Program at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. In this interview, Petersen discusses the studies Hanford conducted in biology and health physics, the continuing cleanup of the Hanford site, and the future of radioactive waste disposal.

Michele Gerber's Interview (2018)

Cindy Kelly: It is September 11, 2018. I’m in Richland, Washington, Cindy Kelly. I have with me Michele Gerber, and what I’d like to ask her to do is to tell us her full name and spell it.

Michele Gerber: Michele Stenehjem Gerber. M-i-c-h-e-l-e. S-t-e-n-e-h-j-e-m. Gerber, G-e-r-b-e-r.

Kelly: Tell us a little more about your background. What did you study and how did you become interested in the history of Hanford?

Jackie Peterson's Interview

Cindy Kelly: It is Wednesday, September 12, 2018. I’m in Seattle, Washington, and I have Jackie Peterson with me. My first question to her is to tell me her full name and spell it.

Jackie Peterson: My name is Jackie Peterson. It’s J-a-c-k-i-e Peterson, P-e-t-e-r-s-o-n.

Kelly: I’d love to know more about yourself and how you got involved in this. Maybe you could start by just giving a brief bio, where you were born and when.

Jackie Peterson

Jackie Peterson is an independent curator and exhibit developer in Seattle, Washington. She curated an exhibition called “The Atomic Frontier: Black Life at Hanford” at the Northwest African American Museum from October 2015-March 2016. In this interview, Peterson describes the exhibition and what she learned about African American experiences at Hanford during the Manhattan Project. She explains how African Americans came to the Tri-Cities, the kinds of work they were able to obtain, and the (largely informal) segregation they faced.

Thomas E. Marceau's Interview

Cindy Kelly:   I’m Cindy Kelly, Atomic Heritage Foundation. It is Monday, September 10, 2018. I have with me Tom Marceau, and I’d like him to tell us his full name and spell it.

Thomas Marceau: Thomas E. Marceau. E is for Edward. M-a-r-c-e-a-u.

Kelly:  Great. So, Tom, I’ve known you a long time, but there are things I don’t know about you. It would be great to have you tell us from the beginning when and where you were born, and then how you happened to become what you are today and so involved in Hanford and its history.

Tom Marceau

Thomas “Tom” Marceau is an archaeologist and cultural resources specialist at the Hanford site. In this interview, he discusses the geological history of the Hanford area and the Native American tribes that have lived in the area for thousands of years. He also highlights how the displacement of Native Americans have resulted in a cultural and historical crisis for these tribes, because their identities, lives, and communities revolve around the lands their ancestors inhabited.

CJ Mitchell's Interview

CJ Mitchell: It’s CJ Mitchell, Junior. That’s just CJ. No periods or anything. It doesn't stand for anything. And Mitchell – M-I-T-C-H-E-L-L.

Kelly: Great. I would have made that mistake. Just like Harry Truman. It’s Harry S Truman, no period.

Mitchell: Yeah, my dad was a CJ as well.

Kelly: Was he?

Mitchell: Yes.

Kelly: You’re a junior. We started chatting, but why don’t you tell us for the camera, where you're from and how you came to Richland.

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