The Manhattan Project

X-10

Jack Hefner's Interview

S. L. Sanger: This is Hefner on June 11, 1986, interviewed at his residence in Richland.

Jack Hefner: The plant at Oak Ridge was operating to make enough samples of plutonium, so they could learn how to separate here at Hanford. Very few people said a great deal about that and knew much about it. And we only had this manner of need to know. So all our job was keep the plant operating. And the operating people was crank the plutonium out the door.

Max Gittler's Interview

Alexandra Levy: All right, we are here on December 28, 2012 with Max Gittler. Please say your name and spell it.

Max Gittler: Max Gittler, M-a-x G-i-t-t-l-e-r.

Levy: Where are you from?

Gittler: New York, New York City, the Bronx.

Levy: So how did you become involved in the Manhattan Project?

X-10 Plant

The X-10 Graphite Reactor was the first reactor built after the successful experimental “Chicago Pile I” at the University of Chicago.  On December 2, 1942, using a lattice of graphite blocks and uranium rods, Enrico Fermi proved that a nuclear chain reaction could be controlled. Scientists knew that it would only be a matter of time before the energy of the atom could be harnessed for a bomb.

Oak Ridge, TN

In 1942, General Leslie Groves approved Oak Ridge, Tennessee, as the site for the pilot plutonium plant and the uranium enrichment plant. Manhattan Project engineers had to quickly build a town to accommodate 30,000 workers--as well as build the enormously complex plants.

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