The Manhattan Project

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

Hanford, WA

Veronica Taylor's Interview

[Interviewed by Cynthia Kelly, Tom Zannes, and Thomas E. Marceau.]

Veronica Taylor: I'm Veronica Taylor, one of the elders for the Nez Perce tribe and I work in the environmental restoration management program for the Nez Perce. One they call the community liaison.

Tell me what the Columbia River means to your tribe?

Veronica Taylor

Veronica Taylor is a member of the Nez Perce Tribe and grew up along the Columbia River near the Manhattan Project site at Hanford. Taylor discusses some of the unique aspects of Nez Perce life and describes some of the customs practiced by the tribe. She also discusses some of the side-effects that have resulted from the radiation in the area, including its impact on wildlife and the Indian people themselves.

Rex Buck's Interview

[Interviewed by Cynthia Kelly, Tom Zannes, and Thomas E. Marceau.]

Tell us your name.

Rex Buck, Jr.: My name is Rex Buck, Jr. R-E-X B-U-C-K J-R.

What's your Wanapum Indian name?

Buck: My Wanapum Indian name is Puckhyahtoot.

Can you spell that?

Buck: P-U-C-K-H-Y-A-H-T-O-O-T.

What does that mean?

Rex Buck

Rex Buck, a member of the Wanapum Indian tribe, grew up near the Manhattan Project site at Hanford along the Columbia River. When the government selected Hanford as a site for plutonium production, Buck and the rest of the Wanapum tribes were forced off their land. Buck discusses the impact of being forced off aboriginal lands and how the tribe coped with this event. He also discusses the Indians’ connection with the land and expresses his hope for future generations of Wanapum Indians. 

Dee McCullough

 

 

Dee McCullough began working as an instrument technician at Hanford in early 1944. As a former sound engineer, McCullough was tasked with installing nuclear safety monitors on the reactors at Hanford. McCullough, who worked closely with many of the famous scientists at the Manhattan project, discusses his interactions with Enrico Fermi and Leona Woods Marshall. In addition, he talks about the various safety methods DuPont put in place to protect their workers.

Paul Vinther's Interview

[Interviewed by Cynthia Kelly and Tom Zannes.]

Paul Vinther: I'm Paul Vinther. P-A-U-L V-I-N-T-H-E-R.

I have a first name, Alvin, but never went by it so everybody knows me as Paul. And I first came to Hanford on June the 26th, 1950. I remember that vividly because that was the day after the Korean War started. And I'd been in the Navy, went back to college, and came down here for a job, and at that time GE was running the plant and we were known as “tech grads.” 

Paul Vinther

 

 

Paul Vinther arrived in Hanford in 1950 where he worked as a physicist and reactor operator. Vinther discusses, in detail, DuPont’s safety philosophy as well as many of the safety measures put in place to protect workers at the plant. Vinther also discusses the impact of nuclear radiation on the wildlife and the various tests conducted to measure the environmental impact.

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