Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Nuclear security

The secret cities where the atomic bomb was built

19--Postwar housing by SOM, Oak Ridge
How many people does it take to build an atomic bomb? About 125,000, if you count the inhabitants of three entire US cities that were built from scratch in 1943 as part of the Manhattan Project.
The cities, which also served as testing grounds for new architectural principles, were Los Alamos in New Mexico, Oak Ridge in Tennessee and Hanford/Richland in Washington state.
It was all done in secret. They weren't on any maps, and almost none of the residents knew they were working on a new type of bomb, only some kind of war effort. For a casual observer, these cities were normal places with the occasional oddity: Every baby born in Los Alamos, for example, had a P.O. box in Santa Fe listed as their birth place.
But on August 6, 1945, when the bomb nicknamed "Little Boy" was dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima, the true nature of these cities was revealed to the world -- and to the people who lived in them.

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