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.
Stephane Groueff: Yes, now we’re recording, Dr. Hilberry.
[Interviewed by Cynthia Kelly and Tom Zannes.]
Tell us your name.
Louis Turner: My name is Louis Turner. L-O-U-I-S T-U-R-N-E-R.
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.
Gilbert Church: During the construction period there were several fellows that I could suggest you see. One of them would be Phil Gardner, for example. He was a recruiter on the road, and that was one of the biggest problems that we had, was getting manpower. He would know all the detail of that. So would Buster Harris, Bill Taylor—they were associated with the operation of the camp on Burton on a day-in day-out basis.
Stephane Groueff: Is there a movie about Hanford?
Stephane Groueff: So Mr. Friel, you were with the optical side in Chicago project?
Dan Friel: Yes. My interest and activity was in the optical end. The job was to make it possible to see through walls and to see into equipment where otherwise the radioactive level was too high to operator or to work. We knew, of course, that we had to be able to see behind these walls, and we knew in many cases that we would not know what we would be looking at, because there were new and strange phenomena going on. This indeed turned out to be the case.
Daniel D. Friel was a chemical engineer for the DuPont Company who joined the Manhattan Project at the University of Chicago in 1943.
Friel was assigned to design the optics for remote operations in Hanford's T-Plant, a state-of-the-art chemical separations facility. Under Charles M. Cooper and George Monk, Friel invented equipment based on preexisting military technology to see behind walls at the separation plant and the B Reactor.
[We would like to thank Robert S. Norris, author of the definitive biography of General Leslie R. Groves, Racing for the Bomb: General Leslie R. Groves, the Manhattan Project's Indispensable Man, for taking the time to read over these transcripts for misspellings and other errors.]
Stephane Groueff: We could start now with your biography and where you were born. I see that you were born in Cleveland.
General Kenneth Nichols: Well, I was born in a little suburb of Cleveland called West Park, Ohio [on November 13, 1907].
Groueff: West Park, Ohio.
Nichols: Later became a part of Cleveland.