An amazing tour through Hanford’s B Reactor where the plutonium was made for the bomb dropped on Nagasaki.
Pop Quiz: Do you know why there were two bombs dropped in Japan?
Answer: The first bomb was uranium and it was well known that there was a limited amount available in the world at the time. The second bomb was plutonium based and proved to the world that the US had the capability of both types of bombs. It also demonstrated that the US had the potential for many more plutonium bombs since plutonium was relatively easily made and ultimately ended the war. While the loss of life in Hiroshima and Nagasaki was tragic, it also prevented the loss of millions more lives in a sea/ground invasion of Japan.
It’s also important to understand the story behind Hanford. It was one of 3 sites (Oak Ridge, Hanford, and Los Alamos) that were part of the design and construction of nuclear weapons. In less than 3 years, the US went from having a tiny reactor in Chicago to bulding towns for 13,000 people at each of the three sites, designing the bombs, producing the uranium and plutonium, assembling the bombs and delivering them to their destinations in Japan. Just building the towns that supported each site took crews of 50,000 to 60,000 workers that were housed in temporary facilities. because the crew towns were in security zones, they had to be removed and only small parts are left to show the effort required to build B reactor.