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Home arrowNews arrowDepartment of Energy's B Reactor Preservation Project Honored For Federal Leadership, Commitment to Historic Hanford Facility

Department of Energy’s B Reactor Preservation Project Honored For Federal Leadership, Commitment to Historic Hanford Facility


SEATTLE– The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) gave its Chairman’s Award for Achievement in Historic Preservation to the Department of Energy (DOE), Richland Operations Office for the B Reactor Preservation Project at DOE’s Hanford Site in southeastern Washington state.

“The B Reactor Project spared an endangered National Historic Landmark from destruction and converted what had been a public problem into a publically accessible national treasure,” said Milford Wayne Donaldson, FAIA, ACHP chairman and California State Historic Preservation Officer. “The B Reactor is likely to become part of a new Manhattan Project National Historical Park that will teach millions about the amazing but true cliffhanger story of the race to develop the atomic bomb before America’s enemies could do so during World War II.”

The award was made during the ACHP’s summer business meeting at the Mayflower Park Hotel today. Receiving the award for the Department of Energy were:

  • Matt McCormick, Manager, Richland Operations Office, and
  • Colleen French, B Reactor Preservation Project Manager

“We are honored to receive this recognition from the Council for the hard work Colleen and her contractor team have accomplished at the B Reactor,” said Matt McCormick, Manager of the DOE Richland Operations Office, which oversees Hanford Site cleanup. “In just over two years, the Project has undertaken numerous physical improvements at the facility, collaborated extensively with former workers to bring the tours to life, tripled visitor access numbers, and changed access requirements to allow international visitors. In fact, B Reactor has now been visited by folks from 48 states and 39 countries.”

Also recognized were a number of DOE’s local community partners, who the B Reactor Preservation Project credit with having maintained an unwavering focus on the need to preserve the facility and providing significant input and assistance to DOE on its tour program. Special recognition went to:

  • Maynard Plahuta, President, B Reactor Museum Association
  • Pam Larsen, Director, Hanford Communities
  • Carl Adrian, CEO, Tri-City Development Council
  • Kris Watkins, President and CEO, Tri-Cities Visitor and Convention Bureau

The B Reactor National Historic Landmark at the Hanford Site near Richland, Washington, was the world’s first full scale nuclear reactor and produced plutonium – one of the two nuclear materials to be used in the atomic weapons that were the purpose of the government’s top secret Manhattan Project.

The B Reactor Preservation Project is improving and making available to the world this significant facility, which represents a crucial part of World War II and the effort to defeat the Axis powers of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany and the imperialist and militaristic ruling class of Japan that together plunged the world into history’s most terrible and destructive global war from 1938 through 1945. At one time slated to be dismantled and demolished, the B Reactor was spared by farsighted individuals from government and community organizations who worked together to establish B Reactor’s place in history and capitalize on its 2008 National Historic Landmark designation. Today, thanks to DOE’s successful preservation and public access efforts, the B Reactor is helping educate more than 6,000 visitors each year through firsthand experience of authentic historic place. This opportunity would have been lost without the dedication of DOE’s project leadership and the avid support of its community partners.

About the ACHP: An independent federal agency, the ACHP promotes the preservation, enhancement, and productive use of our nation’s historic resources, and advises the President and Congress on national historic preservation policy. It also provides a forum for influencing federal activities, programs, and policies that affect historic properties. For more information, please visit

Updated August 15, 2011

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