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        Secret Mission: Hanford

        At a time when the future of the free world was at stake, the unsuspecting farming town of Hanford, Washington became the site of an urgent WWII mission. It was key to the Manhattan Project—code name for America's top-secret atomic weapons program. This is the story of the men and women whose unpredictable destiny marked the beginning of the atomic age.

        With these video resources and corresponding learning guide, help students explore the history of the Hanford nuclear site and its role in the development of the atomic bomb.

        Visit KSPS Education for additional educator resources.

        Secret Mission: Hanford | From Farm to Wartime Mission

        In a race for nuclear energy and an end to World War II, the USA encouraged its citizens and scientists to build Hanford which played an integral role in developing an atomic bomb.

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        Secret Mission: Hanford | Nuclear Physics

        Having moved closer to the development of an atomic bomb, FDR called on chemical company DuPont to aid in the war effort by building more nuclear reactors.

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        Secret Mission: Hanford | The Manhattan Project

        Having moved closer to the development of an atomic bomb, FDR called on chemical company DuPont to aid in the war effort by building more nuclear reactors.

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        Secret Mission: Hanford | Settling on Hanford

        Col Franklin T. Matthais scouted the Columbia Basin for a sparsely populated area with a mild climate as the site for Hanford Engineer Works, displacing the residents of Hanford, Richland, and White Bluff.

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        Secret Mission: Hanford | Camp Hanford

        Overnight, Hanford became the 4th largest city in Washington State as workers came from all over the USA to work on the secret mission.

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        Secret Mission: Hanford | Termination Winds

        Conditions were rough at Hanford with dusty winds, heat, and isolation making it difficult to retain workers.

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        Secret Mission: Hanford | Minority Workers

        Women and African-American workers were segregated into different living and social areas from the general population all the while making equal contributions on the job.

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        Secret Mission: Hanford | No. 1 Priority Maintaining Morale

        Dedicated to the war effort, the government motivated workers by providing entertainment and reminding them of their contributions by working on the biggest construction site in the world at the time.

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        Secret Mission: Hanford | Silence Means Security

        The government encouraged workers to be a part of Hanford using messages of patriotic duty and promises of job security if they maintained the top secret nature of the project.

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        Secret Mission: Hanford | Plutonium 239

        In the nuclear reactor, using a chain reaction, Uranium changes to Plutonium 239, the element needed for an atomic bomb. The process uses many raw materials to produce a thimble sized amount of Plutonium 239.

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        Secret Mission: Hanford | Overriding the Xenon Problem

        On Christmas Day 1944, B reactor successfully produces Plutonium 239 after adjusting for error in the first tests that caused Xenon poisoning for which DuPont had unknowingly prepared.

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        Secret Mission: Hanford | From Ghost Town to Dupus

        Architect Gustav Albin Pehrson was called on to design homes for the many workers at Hanford, creating what became known as Alphabet Houses.

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        Secret Mission: Hanford | Trinity Test

        On February 5, 1945, Plutonium 239 was ready to be shipped to Los Alamos, New Mexico for the first test of the atomic bomb. Those involved in the testing were unsure of what the result would be on that July 16th morning.

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        Secret Mission: Hanford | August 15, 1945

        After the Trinity Test, atomic bombs were dropped on two Japanese cities—Hiroshima and Nagasaki. As a result, Japan surrendered on August 15, 1945, leading to the end of World War II.

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        Secret Mission: Hanford | Hanford Legacy

        Those behind Hanford did not plan for the environmental waste in the future, but rather chose to focus on the immediate task of developing atomic power at the time.

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