Conference for the 75th Anniversary of the Manhattan Project - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Conference for the 75th Anniversary of the Manhattan Project

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03/17/17 UPDATE:

RICHLAND, WA - The legacies of the Manhattan Project series continues today in Richland, with presenters speaking on various topics throughout the day. Reporter Rex Carlin was in attendance this morning for a pretty interesting one; how the Manhattan Project affected people across the country.

A lot of the focus of this presentation consisted of how and why other people were affected by the World War II-era activities going on at the Hanford site and with the Manhattan Project, like the residents of Bikini Atoll in the Pacific, who were relocated by the U.S. to use the island as a nuclear testing site.

But Daniel Noonan says you don't even have to go that far to find lasting effects of the Manhattan Project. Take Las Vegas for example; back then just a blip on the radar, but now, as a steadily-growing metropolis, some of those problems are popping up, certainly a problem for a city that sits on a desert.

"They estimate how much water is there, and it is about 48 billion dollars worth of water," said Noonan. "There's a lot of construction going on in Las Vegas and surrounding areas in Nevada. There's a lot of places that want to put in wind turbines, and it would be really great if they could have access to this water, but it is irradiated, and it will not be able to be touched or used by humans for tens of thousands of years."

Noonan added there were more than a hundred above ground tests conducted at the Nevada test site that were clearly visible from Las Vegas, and created major health issues like leukemia for people downwind from the tests.

The series will conclude tomorrow at the Red Lion Hanford House in Richland.


03/16/17 UPDATE:

RICHLAND, WA - The WSU Tri-Cities' Hanford History Project continues today as speakers from all over the world converge on the Red Lion Hanford House in Richland to give panel presentations on various Hanford history topics.

Panels have been running all day at Red Lion Hanford House, and will continue to do so through Saturday.

Today's first panel focused on the consequences of the Manhattan Project to human health. The panel spoke in front of a couple dozen people as another panel was going on at the same time next door.

The focus of this discussion centered around long-lasting health issues people working on the Manhattan Project faced long after they were done working at Hanford.

"What matters in defining the legacy of the Manhattan Project is that there are people who are sick, who are more likely than not, sick because of their exposures," said Trisha Pritikin with CORE (Consequences of Radiation Exposure).

Pritikin added that just because you may not have had health problems related to the site, doesn't mean the health problems didn't exist in other people because of the site.

The event will continue with speakers presenting topics through Saturday in Richland, and the link to the schedule is here:


RICHLAND, WA - The rich history of the Tri-Cities is attracting people from all over the world tonight. It's for the 75th anniversary of the Manhattan Project, and reporter Jaclyn Selesky met with the director of the Hanford History Project to talk about the magnitude and the impacts of this time in history.

"The world changed," said Michael Mays, Director of the Hanford History Project. "The entire world changed as a result of the Manhattan Project."

Today marks the start of a one-of-a-kind conference: Legacies of the Manhattan Project at 75 years. Several decades later, the academic community says this is a safe distance to discuss the magnitude of this transformative event in history.

"75 years is a good amount of time to be removed from a situation," said Mays, "where people can begin to look at the record, at those impacts in ways that maybe aren't quite as easily analyzed with less information, with stronger feelings."

The Manhattan Project produced the world's first nuclear weapons during World War II; plutonium for many of them produced right here in our backyard...having not only a huge impact locally, but globally, which is bringing together scholars and historians from all over the world.

"Japan, Greece, from Princeton, from Harvard, from Oklahoma, from the Midwest," said Mays. "We've got people coming from all over the country and in fact from around the world."

It's not your traditional academic conference either.

"This is an opportunity for people who are in a broad range of different professional fields to come in and talk to each other about common interests," said Mays.

One of the goals is to gather a collection of academic essays to put together as a book for the real 75th anniversary, which is about 18 months away. Another goal is to lay the groundwork for the development of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park.

"It is a very complicated and complex history, and we're interested in sorting through and helping to tell all of the various stories that make up this history," said Mays.

If you'd like to attend the conference, which goes from March 15th to March 18th, click on this link: