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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)
 

Y-12 – The Calutron Plant

 
 
Y-12 – The Calutron Plant Marker image. Click for full size.
By Tom Bosse, December 30, 2017
1. Y-12 – The Calutron Plant Marker
Inscription. The top priority of the secret wartime Oak Ridge project was the Y-12 plant. That was the code name given to the process considered the best bet for separating weapon-grade uranium-235 (U-235) from U-238. This isotope separation process was the brainchild of Ernest O. Lawrence and his team at the University of California. The complex machines used at Y-12 were called “calutrons”, for California University cyclotrons. The architect-engineer for this first-of-its-kind plant was Stone & Webster Engineering of Boston. The plantís wartime cost was $478 million. Construction of Y-12, which began in February 1943, required more than 10,000 construction workers and 14,700 tons of silver, valued at $300 million. Silver ingots were borrowed from U.S. Treasury vaults to make thousands of calutron electromagnets because normally used copper was urgently needed for other war uses. The plant operator was Tennessee Eastman Corp. of Kingsport. Frederick Conklin was plant manager. Ph. D. physicists were at first thought necessary to run the complex calutrons, but Eastman found that local women could be trained to outperform the scientists. The chemical recovery of the calutron project required tremendous effort. In May 1945 Y-12 had 22,400 employees. Despite the formidable technical problems of this brand new process, Y-12 succeeded in its
Y-12 – The Calutron Plant Marker image. Click for full size.
By Tom Bosse, December 30, 2017
2. Y-12 – The Calutron Plant Marker
wartime mission of producing the vital U-235 needed, enabling Los Alamos to build the first atomic bomb that helped bring World War II to an end. By the close of 1946, K-25 had taken over the U-235 production task, and about 20,000 Y-12 employees had left. In 1947 a new and equally vital nuclear defense mission was undertaken and has been successfully managed by Y-12 for the past half century.

Erected in Honor of the Scientists, Engineers, Managers, and Support Staffs Who Designed, Constructed, and Operated this Vital Facility of the Manhattan Project.
 
Erected 2005.
 
Location. 36° 0.82′ N, 84° 15.475′ 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. Manhattan Engineer District – USAEC (here, next to this marker); Oak Ridge and the Manhattan Project (here, next to this marker); 1948 (here, next to this marker); 1946

Y-12 – The Calutron Plant image. Click for full size.
By Tom Bosse
3. Y-12 – The Calutron Plant
(here, next to this marker); Oak Ridge Schools (here, next to this marker); Construction Workers (here, next to this marker); 1945 (here, next to this marker); 1942 (here, next to this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Oak Ridge.
 
Also see . . .
1. Secret City Commemorative Walk. (Submitted on January 6, 2018, by Tom Bosse of Jefferson City, Tennessee.)
2. Oak Ridge, TN. (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 78 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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