ABOUT THE K-25 HISTORY CENTER

ABOUT THE NEW K-25 HISTORY CENTER

The K-25 History center honors the amazing men and women who helped construct and operate the K-25 uranium enrichment complex, first as part of the Manhattan Project, and then continued to help meet our nation’s security and energy needs after the war.

At the time of its creation, most of the K-25 workers did not even know what they were building. This massive wartime effort was shrouded in complete secrecy. They were part of a team building the first atomic weapon, racing against Nazi Germany to bring an end to World War II. At the K-25 plant, a gaseous diffusion process was used to enrich uranium and ultimately create fuel for one of two atomic bombs. The K-25 facility played a major role and altered the global landscape during World War II and the Cold War. Its contributions to defense, energy, and technology advancements through the 1990s have left a historic impact.

The new 7,500 square foot history center houses more than 250 original artifacts on display, and nearly 1,000 recorded oral histories from former employees. These interactive galleries give you the opportunity to step back in time to discover the inner workings of the K-25 Plant and learn about one of the most significant industrial, scientific, and military achievements in American history.

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THE MANHATTAN PROJECT:
THE RACE TO BUILD THE ATOMIC BOMB

In the early 1940s, Americans “watched” a world in chaos – as Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan invaded border after border. Despite the vow of isolationism, every citizen – from leader to laborer – pondered how long the United States could remain observers. On December 7, 1941, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, the question was answered.

Years before the attack on Pearl Harbor, government officials and the scientific community were concerned about Germany’s chemical warfare strategy. In World War I, the Germans first used poisonous gas against the French at the Battle of Ypres (1915). As World War II approached, German scientists Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann successfully split the uranium atom (later coined fission). Hahn had served in the German gas warfare service in the first World War. Renowned physicist, Albert Einstein, warned President Franklin Delano Roosevelt that sustained fission, also known as a nuclear chain reaction, could lead to the construction of “extremely powerful bombs.”