News Releases

(WASHINGTON, DC) – U.S. Senator Patty Murray today wrote to the Chairman of the National Park System Advisory Board, Dr. William F. Baker, urging the Board to recommend designation of the B Reactor at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation as a National Historic Landmark.

The Board is scheduled to meet next week to make designation recommendations to the Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne.  Once a recommendation is made, Secretary Kempthorne will then choose whether to make a formal designation.

"The B Reactor and the people who made it a reality have played an indelible role in our nation’s history.  That history must be preserved so that we as a society have the opportunity to reflect on and learn from the important lessons this facility has to offer," Murray wrote.

In December of 2007 the Landmarks Committee of the National Park System Advisory Board met to consider the nomination of the B Reactor as a National Historic Landmark. The Landmarks Committee unanimously approved the recommendation, sending it to the full board which will make its recommendation next week.

The full text of Senator Murray's letter to Dr. Baker follows:

July 15, 2008

Dr. William F. Baker
Chairman
National Park System Advisory Board
1849 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20240

Dear Dr. Baker:

I am writing today to express my strong support for designating the B Reactor at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation as a National Historic Landmark.

As the world’s first large-scale nuclear reactor, the B Reactor played a key role in the history of nuclear materials production in the United States and the also contributed to the development of the Hanford Site and the Tri-Cities.  The B Reactor and the people who made it a reality have played an indelible role in our nation’s history.  That history must be preserved so that we as a society have the opportunity to reflect on and learn from the important lessons this facility has to offer.

Designation as a National Historic Landmark is an important step forward in permanently protecting the B Reactor and recognizing the important work of the residents of the Tri-Cities during World War II and the Cold War.

I appreciate the work of the National Park Service in completing the nomination study, as well as the efforts of the Landmarks Committee, who in December unanimously recommended the designation of the B Reactor.  When you convene at the upcoming meeting of the National Park System Advisory Board, I urge you and the members of the Board to recommend to the Secretary of Interior designation of the B Reactor as a National Historic Landmark.

I believe that the B Reactor is deserving of this high honor of historic importance and preservation from the National Park Service.  Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing the results of the Board meeting.  

Sincerely, 

Patty Murray  
United States Senator