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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Oak Ridge in Anderson County, Tennessee — The American South (East South Central)
 

K-25 – The Gaseous Diffusion Plant

 
 
K-25 – The Gaseous Diffusion Plant Marker image. Click for full size.
By Tom Bosse, December 30, 2017
1. K-25 – The Gaseous Diffusion Plant Marker
Inscription. In 1940 Columbia University scientists led by John Dunning began their research to beat Germany to the atomic bomb. But it took four years before they learned how to make the key to the gaseous diffusion process – a very porous, strong “barrier” with holes tiny enough to separate the rare uranium-235 from U-238. The diffusion step must be repeated about 3,000 times to produce nearly pure U-235, so the plant had to be huge – 40 acres under one roof – in a “U” shape with “legs’ a half mile long, 400 feet wide, and four stories tall. In September 1943, ground was broken for the $512 million plant called K-25, and amazingly, in view of its complexity and new technology, operation began in February 1945. The largest of any Manhattan Project facility, K-25 was built as a backup in case Y-12 did not succeed. Because the continuous K-25 process proved workable and far cheaper, it replaced Y-12 as the nation’s U-235 supplier. The Kellex Corporation headed the brilliant design of the process and plant. The K-25 powerhouse, built in 1944, was the largest steam generating station ever built at one time. Carbide and Carbon Chemicals Corporation was the first K-25 plant operator. The general manager for Carbide in the 1943-1944 building period was George T. Felbeck; in the 1945 startup year, H.D. Kinsey;
K-25 – The Gaseous Diffusion Plant Marker image. Click for full size.
By Tom Bosse, December 30, 2017
2. K-25 – The Gaseous Diffusion Plant Marker
and in 1947, Clark E. Center, who had a two-decade tenure. At the urgent request of the government in 1949, when the arms race began, K-25 personnel planned and oversaw the four-fold expansion of America’s U-235 production capacity, which later fueled peacetime nuclear power plants around the world.

Erected in Honor of the Scientists, Engineers, and All Other Individuals Who Designed, Constructed, and Operated this Vital Facility of the Manhattan Project By Bechtel Jacobs Company, LLC, June 2005.
 
Erected 2005 by Bechtel Jacobs Company, LLC.
 
Location. 36° 0.817′ N, 84° 15.474′ W. Marker is in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, in Anderson County. Marker is at the intersection of Oak Ridge Turnpike (Tennessee Route 95) and South Tulane Avenue, on the right when traveling east on Oak Ridge Turnpike. Touch for map. Marker located in Alvin K. Bissell Park. Marker is in this post office area: Oak Ridge TN 37830, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. 1944 (here, next to this marker); Oak Ridge Hospital (here, next to this marker); 1947 (here, next to this marker); 1949 (here, next to this marker); 1945 (here,

K-25 – The Gaseous Diffusion Plant image. Click for full size.
By Tom Bosse
3. K-25 – The Gaseous Diffusion Plant
next to this marker); X-10 – The Clinton Laboratories (here, next to this marker); 1943 (here, next to this marker); Oak Ridge – Secret City (here, next to this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Oak Ridge.
 
Also see . . .
1. Oak Ridge, TN. (Submitted on January 6, 2018, by Tom Bosse of Jefferson City, Tennessee.)
2. Secret City Commemorative Walk. (Submitted on January 6, 2018, by Tom Bosse of Jefferson City, Tennessee.)
 
Categories. Science & MedicineWar, World II
 
Secret City Commemorative Walk image. Click for full size.
By Tom Bosse, December 30, 2017
4. Secret City Commemorative Walk
Secret City Commemorative Walk image. Click for full size.
By Tom Bosse, December 30, 2017
5. Secret City Commemorative Walk
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on January 8, 2018. This page originally submitted on January 6, 2018, by Tom Bosse of Jefferson City, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 104 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on January 6, 2018, by Tom Bosse of Jefferson City, Tennessee. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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