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Department of Energy, Oak Ridge launch project to preserve history of old nuclear plant via News Sentinel

The Department of Energy and the City of Oak Ridge launched a project to preserve the history of the former Oak Ridge Gaseous Diffusion Plant on Thursday with a tour of the K-25 History Center’s future home in the Oak Ridge Fire Station Number Four building at the East Tennessee Technology Park. 

The original K-25 gaseous diffusion building contributed to the creation of the first atomic bomb. Nearly 36,000 people worked at K-25 during the Manhattan Project. 

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“(The history center) is a deserving tribute to the thousands at K-25 who helped win World War II and more importantly, The Cold War,” said Oak Ridge Mayor Warren Gooch.

The history center will feature artifacts from the Manhattan Project and Cold War eras, a theater and a viewing tower where visitors can see the K-25’s concrete footprint from above. 

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It will also include a digital memory zone where people who worked at the plant can sit and record an oral history.

At the front of the center will be a special exhibit remembering the Wheat community that first inhabited the area the plant was built on. 

“If you were here 75 years ago, you’d probably be standing in the middle of a large peach orchard,” said Mick Wiest of the Oak Ridge Heritage and Preservation Association. The Wheat community was famous for their peaches. 

Wiest told the story of a young man who fought in World War II and came home to find his neighborhood had been replaced by what would become the Oak Ridge Gaseous Diffusion Plant, its residents uprooted by the Department of Energy.

“We never want to forget the sacrifice those people made, and now we have a way to remember it for all time,” Wiest said. 

Read more at Department of Energy, Oak Ridge launch project to preserve history of old nuclear plant 

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