The Manhattan Project

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

Hanford, WA

Walter Simon

 

Walt Simon, a chemist, was Hanford's first Operations Manager. Before joining the Manhattan Project, he was plant manager at Wabash River Ordnance Works, a DuPont plant near Terre Haute, Indiana. He moved to Richland in the summer of 1944. He watched the B Reactor go critical, and then shut down due to the Xenon poisoning.

W.K. MacCready

A Missourian by birth, W.K. ("Mac") MacCready held undergraduate and graduate degrees in physical chemistry from the University of Alabama. He worked as a liaison between construction and operations team, and later as a supervisor at the construction plant. His wife, Vera Jo MacCready was from Alabama, and came to join her husband in June 1944.

Bill Cease

Bill Cease worked in the 300 area of Hanford, preparing uranium metal and operating piles (reactors). His wife, Louise, accompanied him to Hanford during the war. Though they were originally from Connecticut, the Ceases settled in Richland, located near Hanford, after the war.

Diana VanWyck

Diana VanWyck moved to Richland with her husband Fred in 1944 from Charleston, West Virginia, where Fred worked at DuPont's Belle Plant as a technician. At Hanford, Diana raised the VanWyck children and was a volunteer around town. She and her husband watched Richland grow and evolve over their time living there.

Fred VanWyck

Fred VanWyck moved to Richland with his wife Diana in 1944 from Charleston, West Virginia, where Van worked at DuPont's Belle Plant as a technician. At Hanford, Fred was a plant operator. He and his wife watched Richland grow and evolve over their time living there.

Tom Gary's Interview - Part 1

Stephane Groueff: Mr. Gary, what was your job at that time here?

Tom Gary: Head of the design division. The engineering department had five divisions: design, construction, engineering services—that’s a division of consultants and they have young engineer’s resident on many of the DuPont plants. The fourth one was control, which is to take care of the payroll and all of that stuff, sort of like Ashton General in the army. And then the fifth one was the engineering research division. I headed the design division.

Tom Gary

Tom Gary headed the design division at the DuPont Company and served on the committee which decided among the proposed fissionable material production and purification processes. He discusses his time on the review committee, including Ernest Lawrence’s effective salesmanship, and what it was like to work with a young Crawford Greenwalt.

Everett Weakley

Everett Weakly arrived in Hanford in 1950 after graduating from the University of Idaho as a chemical engineer. Weakley was hired by DuPont to can fuel elements in the 300 Area at Hanford. Weakley discusses the different techniques used to extract uranium and explains the methods behind the “triple-dip” process and the “lead-dip” process used to can the uranium fuel elements. Weakley also discusses how the uranium was shipped from Hanford and recounts the safety measures DuPont put in place to protect its workers.

Dale Babcock's and Samuel McNeight's Interview (1965)

Stephane Groueff: Recording from Wilmington, Delaware. DuPont Company.

Samuel McNeight: I’ll say the major part of the reason why I ask Dale to come over with me was that Dale’s acquaintanceship and part in the Manhattan Project considerably pre-dates mine. Also, he was a part of the reactor group, which I was not. I had nothing to do with reactors.

Groueff: You had to do with the separations?

McNeight: The separations plants entirely.

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