We finally got to meet up with a friend from long ago… Daryl and his wife Deb live not too far from Spokane, and drove in to see us. I haven’t seen him for the better part of 50 years! Great fun catching up!
While most of our boating time has been watching folks who know what they’re doing, I did try a few things. Managed to stay up on a wake board for a minute or two… Quit to save my strength for trying the wake surfing. I’ve got a lot to learn before I get the hang of that!
Here’s the last of the summer’s boating videos… Just the highlights of the talented family members having fun! And 10 seconds of me on the wakeboard. (I won’t dwell on my inability to get up on the wake surfing board…)
After a great Fourth of July on the lake, we moved our home south. First stop was Connell, since I thought the Manhattan project was near there…
The Manhattan Project National Park
I had no idea this was located in Washington! I knew about Los Alamos, New Mexico, but it turns out the race for atomic weapons was centered in three locations: Washington, New Mexico, and one in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. We toured the B Reactor, which was the world’s first full-scale plutonium production reactor. The tour originates in Richland, Washington, and after a short video, proceeds to a 45 minute bus ride to the highly secure site. (Which was pretty close to where we’d spent the last night. I didn’t realize you had to leave from Richland.)
The United States was in a huge hurry to create an atomic bomb in the 1940’s, because they were afraid Germany was about to do the same thing. They built this huge reactor in only 18 months… something that had never been designed or built before. The goal was Plutonium production, and Plutonium had only been theorized up until a year or so before. It does not occur naturally, and needed to be synthesized. The scale of the work done is unbelievable! The numbers relating to the construction of this huge reactor are… well, inconceivable comes to mind. There are a few pictures of the construction period below that give you an idea of the magnitude of this creation. I would explain in detail exactly how the reactor performs, but it’s a bit technical… (Ha!)
The reactor core has over 2,000 tubes with radioactive cores, so there are over 2,000 valves and temperature readouts and warning lights and alarms and much more. 2,000 of everything all over the place! I guess I’ve already said how amazing everything was, but I can’t find the words. The tour was fascinating and I highly recommend it!
Pictured below is a little robot. I don’t know what it was used for, but the following picture shows a guy running it.
Not only do you see the guy running the robot using the controls above, but you may glimpse the ghost of an old retired dentist taking a photo…
This is the control room, where our guide explained how everything worked. So now we could reactivate this thing if we felt like it. HA! Again!
This subtle warning would catch a person’s attention!