DOE breaks with policy, tours not restricted to U.S. Citizens
The Department of Energy quietly opened registration Thursday morning without notice for the tours. It was concerned that too many people might log on to the internet registration site at once and crash the computer server if the start of registration was announced in advance.
By 6 p.m., 429 seats had been snapped up and 831 remained.
Registration is being accepted only online at manhattanprojectbreactor. hanford.gov. Four seats may be reserved per registration.
The tours are scheduled on these Saturdays: April 25; May 9 and 30; June 6, 13 and 20; July 11, 18 and 25; Aug. 8, 15, 22 and 29; and Sept. 5, 12, 19 and 26. Thursday night seats remained for the later dates.
Two tours will be offered each day starting at 8 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. at the Tri-Cities Enterprise Center at 2000 Logston Blvd., Richland, off Highway 240.
Participants will take a 45-minute bus ride to the reactor with a tour guide who will show a video and answer questions. They will spend about two hours at the reactor.
To be allowed on the tour you must be at least 18 years old. However, in a break with usual DOE policy, the tours are not restricted to U.S. citizens.
All participants must wear flat, closed-toed shoes appropriate for an industrial environment since the reactor remains much like it was when it started up during World War II. Skirts and sleeveless shirts are prohibited.
The Saturday tours are separate from the Hanford Site Public Tours that take five hours and include a look at cleanup work across the nuclear reservation in addition to a stop at B Reactor. Seats on those sitewide tours for the year filled quickly. But as cancellations are received, newly opened seats are posted at hanford.gov under "tours" on the righthand column without notice.
The Hanford Site is a decommissioned nuclear production complex on the Columbia River in the U.S. State of Washington, operated by the U.S. federal government.
The B Reactor was the nation's first full-scale production reactor, ushering in the Atomic Age. It was built in 13 months during World War II as the nation raced to develop the technology for an atom bomb.
It produced plutonium for the first atomic explosion in the New Mexico desert, the Trinity Test, and produced plutonium for the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan, helping end World War II.
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