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Oak Ridge marks dedication of Manhattan Project National Park

The Historic Graphite Reactor at Oak Ridge National Laboratory is one of the venues for the Manhattan Project National Park at Oak Ridge. Photo: Lynn Freeny

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Nov. 12, 2015 – Oak Ridge dedicated the new Manhattan Project National Historical Park with Oak Ridge Mayor Warren Gooch proclaiming a new era of telling future generations the story of the city’s contributions to ending World War II.

“The Manhattan Project National Park has been a work in progress for the last decade,” Gooch said prior to a public ceremony held at Oak Ridge High School’s Performing Arts Center. “It is going to honor tens of thousands of some of the most dedicated and hardest working people from all over the world who came here to work on the Manhattan Project, carried out their missions and brought forth new things and new ways to help our country.

Niki Nicholas of the National Park Service, who will oversee the new Oak Ridge national park at the outset, said her agency looks forward to help welcome visitors to Oak Ridge.

“This is a very complex story to be told,” said Nicholas, currently superintendent of the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area and the Obed Wild and Scenic River – both located in Tennessee. “It comes at the beginning of the National Park Service’s centennial. The opportunities for the different issues to talk about and interpret are enormous.”

Colin Colverson, attorney-advisor in the Department of Energy’s Office of Chief Council, said the national park concept will build on the public tour opportunities that have been available in Oak Ridge during the past 20 years.

“The department is ready to take on its partnership with the park service in facility maintenance, safe access and the complex technical story that comes from the Manhattan Project,” Colverson said.

UT-Battelle manages ORNL for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science. DOE’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit <>.