Manhattan Project - K-25 Gaseous Diffusion Plant
A key decision has been reached by the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge Operations to preserve the North End Building, a portion of the K-25 Building, the largest single building under one roof in the world at the time of its construction in 1943 -1945. The massive facility was a four-story structure built in a "U-shape" 1,000 feet wide and one-half mile long. This initial preservation decision results from much deliberation, collaborative discussion and study by both the DOE and interested stakeholders in the local Oak Ridge, TN area.
This key decision is an excellent first step. Saving the North End Building, decontaminating the structure and replacing the roof will provide the rudimentary elements required to preserve the basic structure.
What must now be considered is
(continuing from the main page) how to get the rest of the necessary items such as original World War II equipment decontaminated to the extent required to give the public an in-context visual experience on both the cell floor and the top operating floor of the massive converters as well as the motors and pumps and support equipment required to separate uranium 235 through the gaseous diffusion process.
Along with a vital, strengthened American Museum of Science and Energy uptown that tells the whole Manhattan Project story and its many Oak Ridge legacies, these two principal attractions plus all the others Oak Ridge can offer, can then really grow into an overnight heritage tourist destination.
The resulting revenue will positively impact the economy of the area and the general public will come to understand and appreciate the Oak Ridge/Secret City story and its impact on all aspects of technological advancement such as winning World War II, creation of the first medical isotopes and continuing world-wide distribution of unique medically important isotopes, space travel, nuclear energy, winning the Cold War, assisting local industry and spin-off industrial development.
Additionally, the location of the Southern Appalachia Railway Museum contributes to the overall tourist experience. Also the diversity of the construction and operating population to include minorities contribution to the Manhattan Project and even the proximity of the African American Cemetery will contribute to the tourist's overall historical experience at the K-25 tourist destination.
With this decision, announced in Oak Ridge on November 18, 2004, the Heritage Tourism Task Force formed to implement the results of a recent Heritage Tourism Master Plan can now plan for the future of heritage tourism in Oak Ridge with a major tourist destination as a viable alternative. With continued cooperative efforts of all interested parties the future success of heritage tourism in Oak Ridge is bright indeed.
Return to K-25 Main Page
History of K-25
Proposal Article - Cindy Kelly