The Manhattan Project

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

Atomic Energy Commission

George Warren Reed's Interview (2006)

[The Atomic Heritage Foundation is very grateful to Mark Morrison-Reed for donating this interview.]

Mark Morrison-Reed: How would you describe your mother, grandmother, Mary Elizabeth?

George Warren Reed: She was a tough cookie. Nobody crossed her. She ran a tight ship. Never held back. She always gave.

Mark: What was Sarah like in comparison? Were they similar, different? What was Sarah like?

Karen Dorn Steele's Interview

Trisha Pritikin: We are in Lynnwood, Washington. Karen, can you spell your name and say your name, please?

Karen Dorn Steele: Yeah. So, my name’s Karen Dorn Steele. K-a-r-e-n D-o-r-n S-t-e-e-l-e.

Pritikin: Okay. I’d like to start with having you tell us, please, about your early life overseas growing up as the child of a press liaison for the U.S. Information Agency.

Karen Dorn Steele

Karen Dorn Steele is a journalist. As a reporter for the Spokesman Review, she broke the story about the Green Run test, in which the U.S. government released radioactive gases in 1949 over areas surrounding the Hanford Site. Subsequently, she covered the Hanford Downwinder Litigation, in which residents living around the Hanford Site from the 1940s through the 1960s were suing the federal government for the health complications they suffered from as a result of the exposure to radiation from Hanford. 

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?

Richard Rhodes' Interview (2018)

Cindy Kelly: I’m Cindy Kelly, Atomic Heritage Foundation. It is Tuesday, November 27, 2018, and I have with me Richard Rhodes. My first question for him is to please say his name and spell it.

Richard Rhodes: Richard Rhodes, R-h-o-d-e-s.

Kelly:  Okay. Richard wants to share some of his expertise on the history of the Manhattan Project and its legacy—which is wonderful. Why don’t we start with Robert Oppenheimer and talk about what was going on with this very enigmatic character—who is often a central figure.

Gary Petersen's Interview

Cindy Kelly:   Okay. I’m Cindy Kelly. It is Monday, September 10, 2018, and I have with me Gary Petersen. My first question to Gary is to please say his full name and spell it.

Gary Petersen: Gary Petersen, P-e-t-e-r-s-e-n. Gary is G-a-r-y, so that’s easy.

Kelly:  Terrific. Well, Gary, you have the most fascinating history and I want to start with the beginning. Where and when you were born and your education. A little bit about what brought you to the Tri-Cities [Kennewick, Pasco, and Richland, Washington].

Gary Petersen

Gary Petersen is the former vice president of federal programs for TRIDEC, the Tri-City Development Council, which works to promote economic growth for Washington State’s Tri-Cities (Pasco, Kennewick, and Richland) area. Before TRIDEC, he worked at the Hanford site for Battelle, serving as news manager, and in the International Nuclear Safety Program at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. In this interview, Petersen discusses the studies Hanford conducted in biology and health physics, the continuing cleanup of the Hanford site, and the future of radioactive waste disposal.

Bill Ginkel's Interview

Cindy Kelly: All right. We can start with something very simple. Tell us your name and spell it.

Bill Ginkel: I’m Bill Ginkel, G-i-n-k-e-l. I came to Idaho in 1950 out of the Manhattan Project and its successor agency. I was actually employed by the Atomic Energy Commission in Oak Ridge in connection with material accountability at the time, and the opportunity to come to Idaho emerged. I was a little skeptical to start with, but it seemed like an extraordinary challenge to get in at the beginning of an operation as potentially big as it was.

William "Bill" Ginkel

Bill Ginkel served as the Manager of Office Operations for the Idaho Falls laboratory of the Atomic Energy Commission. In this interview, he describes his experience working at the facility beginning in 1950. He recalls the pioneering work conducted at the laboratory and the occasional methodological divide between the scientists and engineers. He also explains the transformative effects the influx of nuclear scientist had upon the local community and the state, and why the area was referred to as “The Site.”

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