The Manhattan Project

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

Hanford, WA

Hanford 25th Anniversary Celebration

[Many thanks to Claude Lyneis for donating this footage to the Atomic Heritage Foundation.]

Narrator: About seventy-five miles northwest of Walla Walla, Washington, in an isolated expanse of open desert, civilization entered into a new age, an age from which it would never emerge the same. Here, in the home of the Wanapum Indians, the terrain is mostly scrubland, laced here and there by cheatgrass, greasewood, and Russian thistle.

Raymond Grills

Dr. Raymond Grills was a DuPont physical chemist who worked at Chicago and later at Hanford during the Manhattan Project. While at Hanford, he was one of two men who invented the canning process that sealed uranium slugs for use in Hanford’s water-cooled nuclear reactors. In this interview, he describes the challenges and pressures he and his colleagues had to overcome, and explains why the canning had to be designed perfectly. He also describes humorous encounters with a machinist and a railroad porter while transporting uranium slugs.

General Kenneth Nichols's Interview - Part 3

General Kenneth Nichols: —found we did not have the authority to satisfy DuPont.

Stephane Groueff: But why did DuPont challenge your authority?

Nichols: Because they had trouble, in World War I, being called munitions makers and investigated after World War I, so they are more conservative than most companies. And they wanted to have in their files copies of our authorities. And what we had, which I have shown you, and that is satisfactory to them.

Groueff: I see.

Colonel Franklin Matthias's Interview (1965) - Part 2

Stephane Groueff: [Enrico] Fermi had the characteristics of a real genius.

Colonel Franklin Matthias: Almost every time you would get in contact with him, something would come up that was impressive. Physically, he was a small man, unimpressive person, but he grew real large when he started talking about things he knew.

Groueff: Was he a friendly person?

Matthias: Yes, warm; very warm, very friendly, a real nice person.

Walt Grisham's Interview

Walt Grisham: Okay, what you’re looking at is our old family well. It’s a little different than it used to be, because it’s sitting kind of up on the top of a bank here. After the project was built, they did a little roadwork out here and cut it way down. But where I am at the present time is the meadow of our front yard. The old dead trees off to this side were cherry trees. We used them not only to produce the cherries, but also as shade trees in the front lawn. The house sat back in this direction.

Newton Stapleton's Interview

Stephane Groueff: It is working. Mr. Stapleton, you were with security during the Hanford period, or you were already here with security in DuPont in Wilmington?

Newton Stapleton: I was in the security prior to Hanford. At the beginning of the war, DuPont got involved in building a plant for the French and British down at Memphis, Tennessee. Then as our country became more involved, we got involved in trying to please or satisfy the government from the Air Force, the Army, the Navy, the Coast Guard and everything.

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