The Manhattan Project

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

Hanford, WA

Collene Dunbar's Interview

Cynthia Kelly: Okay, why don’t we start by having you tell us your name and spelling it?

Collene Dunbar: My name is Collene Dunbar, C-O-L-L-E-N-E, and it’s pronounced Coll-ene.

Jeffrey Nalezny: And your last name is spelled?

Dunbar: D-U-N-B-A-R.

Nalezny: Thank you.

Kelly: Great! Thank you very much. Now we’re here to talk to about your life, your life in Richland. So can you tell us when you came here and why?

Carol Roberts's Interview

Cynthia Kelly: Start by telling us your name and spelling it.

Carol Roberts: Okay, my name is Carol B. Roberts. C-A-R-O-L, initial B, as in Bobby, R-O-B-E-R-T-S. I came here in June 1944 with my mother and my sisters because my dad had been sent by DuPont out here. That is how I came to be such a smart aleck.

Kelly: Where did you live before?

Collene Dunbar

Collene Dunbar first arrived the Tri-Cities in 1950. She spent her childhood there while her father worked in construction at the Hanford Site. In this interview, she recalls her experiences growing up, and describes local perceptions of Hanford. She details discrimination faced by African Americans, local agriculture, and how the area has changed over the years. Dunbar also recounts her time working in construction and maintenance in the 200 East Area at Hanford, and shares her impressions of how secrecy and security were maintained at the site.

Virginia Ballard

Virginia Ballard was born in Charleston, West Virginia. Her parents immigrated to the US from Scotland. In 1944, Ballard’s family moved to Richland, Washington where her father worked for DuPont. After attending college, Ballard went to work for GE and Exxon Nuclear. Her last job before retirement was as executive secretary to the manager for Siemens. Ballard had two children – Bruce and Diane – with her husband Del.

Carol Roberts

Carol Roberts moved to Hanford with her family in 1944 after her father was hired by DuPont to work as an electrician on the B Reactor. In this interview, she vividly describes life in Richland during the Manhattan Project. Roberts mentions local segregation, dust storms, the housing, social opportunities, and the challenges women faced in raising a family. Roberts champions the role of women in local history, including Leona Marshall Libby’s work on the B Reactor.

John Price's Interview

Cindy Kelly: Okay. I’m Cindy Kelly. It is September 11, 2018. I’m in Richland, Washington, and I have with me John Price. My first request is to please say your full name and spell it.

John Price: Sure. My name is John Price, J-o-h-n P-r-i-c-e. I am the Tri-Party Agreement Section Manager for the Washington Department of Ecology Nuclear Waste Program.

Kelly: Wow. That’s a mouthful.

Price: Sure.

John Price

John Price is an environmental lawyer who has been working on radioactive waste cleanup projects for more than 35 years. Currently, he is the Tri-Party Agreement Section Manager for the Washington Department of Ecology Nuclear Waste Program.

In this interview, he discusses the Tri-Party Agreement and the role it plays in ensuring the cleanup of Hanford site. He also talks about the political and the technical problems the Department of Ecology and the US Department of Energy face when trying to cleanup the area. 

Keith Klein's Interview

Cindy Kelly: Okay. I’m Cindy Kelly. I’m in Richland, Washington, and it’s Monday, September 10, 2018. I have with me Keith Klein, and my first question for him is to say his name and spell it.

Keith Klein: Keith Klein, K-l-e-i-n.

Kelly:  Terrific.

Klein:  I passed, huh?

Keith Klein

Keith Klein has worked for the Atomic Energy Commission and the U.S. Department of Energy since graduating from undergraduate school. In this interview, he recounts the timeline of his tenure with the AEC and DOE. He held positions on their Liquid Metal Fast Breeder Reactor program, nuclear waste disposal, and with Tritium production. Klein was active in the efforts to clean up the Rocky Flats plant site after the FBI raid in 1989 and coordinated the opening of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in Carlsbad, New Mexico.

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