Skip to main content

Reactor

Hanford B Reactor
Society: ASMEMain Category: MechanicalSub Category: Minerals Extraction & RefiningEra: 1940-1949DateCreated: 1944Hanford SiteSunnysideState: WAZip: 98944Country: USAWebsite: http://www.asme.org/about-asme/history/landmarks/topics-m-z/minerals-extraction-and-refining/-14-hanford-b-reactor-%281944%29Creator: Fermi, Enrico , E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company

The Hanford B-Reactor was the first plutonium production reactor to be placed in operation. Its success made possible the subsequent development of atomic energy. The research work, engineering, and planning required to make the reactor operate is one of our most advanced achievements. Much of the reactor core, cooling system, shielding, and auxiliary systems were designed by mechanical engineers.

YearAdded:
1976
Image Credit: Courtesy Flickr/David Lee (CC BY-SA 2.0)Image Caption: Hanford B ReactorEra_date_from: 1944
Hanford B Reactor
Society: ASCEMain Category: CivilSub Category: BuildingsEra: 1940-1949DateCreated: 1944Near the Hanford SiteRichlandState: WAZip: 98944Country: USAWebsite: http://www.asce.org/Project/Hanford-B-Reactor/Creator: Fermi, Enrico , E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company

In the first nine months of operation, the B reactor produced fissionable plutonium for the world's first atomic bomb (the Trinity test on July 16, 1945), and for the atomic bomb that was dropped on Nagasaki, Japan, on August 9, 1945, killing 35,000 people.  This, and similar destruction at Hiroshima caused by the atomic bomb dropped three days earlier, hastened the end of World War II.

YearAdded:
1993
Image Credit: Courtesy Flickr/David Lee (CC BY-SA 2.0)Image Caption: Hanford B ReactorEra_date_from: 1944
Subscribe to Reactor

We hope you enjoyed this essay.

Please support this 70-year tradition of trusted historical writing and the volunteers that sustain it with a donation to American Heritage.

Donate

Stay informed - subscribe to our newsletter.
The subscriber's email address.