Letters to the Editor

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HANFORD: Limit public’s access to B Reactor

Letter by David Cooke, Tacoma on Aug. 20, 2012 at 10:02 am with 4 Comments »
August 20, 2012 1:32 pm

Re: “Hanford’s B Reactor: A park haunted by the 20th century” (editorial, 8-20).

I believe the B Reactor is fine the way it is, and I believe it’s a mistake to turn it into a park.

I visited the B Reactor in 2009. At that time, public tours were infrequent, space was limited and reservations were hard to come by. My tour group found the building very much as it was when shut down in 1968, save for the necessary clean-up work. There was little sign the place had become a museum.

In the control room, I stood inches away from the console where Enrico Fermi himself orchestrated the plant’s first operations, and the only thing that kept me from pushing the buttons was that I had my hands in my pockets.

All of this will change if the National Park Service is allowed to turn the place into a tourist destination. It will become necessary to rope off the relics and put them under glass. Increased visitor traffic will cause deterioration, and the experience of seeing the place first-hand will be diminished and become trite.

I don’t believe Sen. Maria Cantwell and Congressman Doc Hastings have the B Reactor’s historical value at heart. I think the goal is to attract tourist dollars. And votes.

 

Leave a comment Comments → 4
  1. alindasue says:

    “…and the only thing that kept me from pushing the buttons was that I had my hands in my pockets.”

    That is exactly why they rope off the relics and put the controls behind glass. Too many people do not keep their hands in their pockets and the result is that historical relics end up being damaged.

    Whether they turn the Hanford plant into a national monument or not, there will be people like yourself who will tour the museum. If you want the relics to stay “very much like it was when shut down in 1968″, then they will have to take measures to protect it.

  2. So more people should not enjoy it/learn from it? Do you recognize how selfish that comes off?

  3. itwasntmethistime says:

    That sounds like the anguished cry of people who move to Graham. “We moved out here to get away from people. Stop building houses!”

    Guess what, David. Anything you want to do, there are countless other people who want to do it also. There aren’t enough reactor cores to go around. Don’t be stingy.

  4. SwordofPerseus says:

    I wonder why so many Americans have an adversity to preserve historical places if the site is not one where people have been killed violently.

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