Manhattan Project


Establishment Legislation:
S. 507/Maria Cantwell
H.R. 1208/Doc Hastings

Under a veil of secrecy, workers in Los Alamos, New Mexico; Oak Ridge, Tennessee; and Hanford, Washington, built the world’s first production-scale nuclear reactor, assembled the atomic bomb—and created a lasting impact on world history. While the project was masterminded by leading scientists including J. Robert Oppenheimer and Maria Goeppert Mayer, most of the tens of thousands of workers were unaware of the actual “product” that they were helping to create. The Manhattan Project empowered thousands of women to join the workforce, from those adjusting controls of the Calutrons at Oak Ridge to scientists involved at the project’s highest levels.

The National Park Service would not celebrate the creation of atomic weapons, but instead interpret and facilitate discussion surrounding the complex stories of the Manhattan Project and the resulting impacts of atomic power and nuclear technology in the three major site areas.

Update: Passed in the House, under the National Defense Authorization Act for FY15 (H.R. 4435). Reported out of Senate Committee



“As someone who lost family because of the atomic bomb, I agree that there is no glory in the first and only use of atomic weapons. However, the Manhattan Project is an important chapter of American history, and I believe we should recount all parts of our heritage.”
—Clarence Moriwaki, president of the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial Association