My visit to Hanford’s “Reactor B’, World’s First Full-Scale Plutonium Factory.

Inside the B Reactor remain many off-limits areas that have not been sufficiently decontaminated to allow visitors.   Photo by © Michaël Van Broekhoven

Inside the B Reactor remain many off-limits areas that have not been sufficiently decontaminated to allow visitors.
Photo by © Michaël Van Broekhoven

To visit this monumental relic of  modern industrial war insanity yourself, go here.

As I mentioned in my previous blogpost, “The Hanford Site, holding the Pacific Northwest at Nuclear Gunpoint“, I visited the ‘B Reactor’ at the Hanford Site.

Plutonium manufactured at the site was used in the first nuclear bomb, tested at the Trinity site, and in the A-bomb used to annihilate the (almost entirely civilian) city of Nagasaki, Japan on August 9, 1945, killing more than 60,000 human beings in a flash, and tens of thousands more in the minutes, days and years following the nuclear blast.

As part of my checking out what’s up with Hanford, I visited ‘Reactor B’ in the 100B area on a public tour.  It’s the only part open to all of the public.  For a tour of part of the highly radioactive area, you have to be a US citizen and be cleared after a background check.  The tour guides on the B Reactor Tour were all super friendly and especially enthusiastic about telling the historic stories of the scientists, operators and building crews.  You get some regional history on the way, some geology, and once you’re inside the B Reactor building, you get blasted near-non-stop with war and cold war history and basic nuclear physics and engineering.

If you're not gung-ho about obliterating fellow human beings, you may b looked at with a slight hint of suspicion. Photo by © Michaël Van Broekhoven, 2013  (biometrics of other visitor blacked out)

Greetings… If you’re not Gung Ho about obliterating fellow human beings, you may be looked at with a slight hint of suspicion.
Photo by © Michaël Van Broekhoven, 2013
(biometrics of other visitor blacked out)

The most commonly used adjective to describe it was “amazing”.  Amazing engineering feat, amazing focus and dedication, amazing luck, amazing precision, amazing craftsmanship, amazing ingenuity, amazing secrecy, just… yeah, all of it really was and somehow remains…

‘amazing’…

There I stood.  A snapshot after spending over an hour inside that monstrocity.  B Reacor parking lot, Hanford Site, Washinton.

There I stood. A snapshot after spending over an hour inside that monstrocity.
Myself in the B Reacor parking lot, Hanford Site, Washington State. May 28, 2013

You’re greeted by very well-informed scientist-type guides, some whom used to work inside these nuclear weapons factories for years or decades (and proud of it).  On my tour, Tour 23, most other “nuclear tourists” were locals, most of whom worked on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in one capacity or another themselves.  They too shared some stories.  None touched on the horror unleashed…

The cold face of adversity taken to the extreme, this place is a nightmarish hell world of make-belief and senseless denial of epic proportions…  It lacks a prayer room to bawl your heart out.

One of many documentaries on the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (almost all of 'm buying into the war logic).  CLICK IMAGE to watch on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4NB3dl_roQ

One of many documentaries on the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (almost all of ‘m buying into the war logic). CLICK IMAGE to watch on YouTube
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4NB3dl_roQ

On the tour, the atmosphere is casual and cordial, very well guided along an inside trajectory that includes videos, demonstrations and stories.  Here’s a selection of photos from visiting that horrific place of death and destruction:

DSC07815

The main hall showing the face of the reactor core, where the Uranium fuel would be loaded into the graphite holes. The nuclear reaction, moderated by neutron-absorbing Boron rods would create Plutonium, which would be exstracted from the fuel chemically at a different plant.
Photo by © Michaël Van Broekhoven, 2013.

Close-up of the Uranium rod loaders.

Close-up of the Uranium rod loaders.

Many areas remain too radioactive to enter. Photo by © Michaël Van Broekhoven, 2013.

Many areas remain too radioactive to enter.
Photo by © Michaël Van Broekhoven, 2013.

Welcome, my friend, welcome to the machine! Click image to listen to Pink Floyed Photo by © Michaël Van Broekhoven, 2013

Welcome, my friend, welcome to the machine!
Click image to listen to Pink Floyd
Photo by © Michaël Van Broekhoven, 2013

The crucial water intake to prevent the reactor from overheating.   Photo by © Michaël Van Broekhoven, 2013.

The crucial water intake to prevent the reactor from overheating.
Photo by © Michaël Van Broekhoven, 2013.

Basically they tell you how to make Plutonium... Photo by © Michaël Van Broekhoven, 2013.

Basically they tell you how to make Plutonium…
Photo by © Michaël Van Broekhoven, 2013.

In the control room… Being blasted with physics and history made it difficult to feel into the space. I think the guides could tell I wasn’t really interested in all the blah blah blah of how “amazing” of an engineering feat this was… totally glossing over the fact that its sole purpose was inconceivable heartlessness: to kill as many complete strangers as possible in one blast.
Photo by © Michaël Van Broekhoven, 2013.
(I blacked out the biometrics of local tourists)

Control Room video with archival footage and nuclear physics animations.  The clock is left at the time the reactor first reached criticality on September 26, 1944 Photo by © Michaël Van Broekhoven, 2013

Control Room video with archival footage and nuclear physics animations. The clock is left at the time the reactor first reached criticality on September 26, 1944
Photo by © Michaël Van Broekhoven, 2013

Control Room panel

Control Room panel

Old radioactive train wagon, which used to take the irradiated uranium, containing the sought-after Plutonium, to the separation plant. Side of Reactor B, Hanford Site, WA. Photo by © Michaël Van Broekhoven, 2013

Old radioactive train wagon, which used to take the irradiated uranium, containing the sought-after Plutonium, to the separation plant.
Side of Reactor B, Hanford Site, WA.
Photo by © Michaël Van Broekhoven, 2013

One of many historic documents.  Over 50,000 people were directly involved with the Manhattan Project, but less than 1% of those actually knew they were participating in building a weapon of mass destruction. Photo by © Michaël Van Broekhoven, 2013

One of many historic documents. Over 50,000 people were directly involved with the Manhattan Project, but less than 1% of those actually knew they were participating in building a weapon of mass destruction.
Photo by © Michaël Van Broekhoven, 2013

The war, however, never truly ended.  When stripped of nation-state identity, and seen as a human being on this Planet Earth, what started with the Manhattan Project unleashed nothing short of a nuclear war against the Earth herself.  Since those darkest hours, at least 2,084 nuclear bombs have been detonated on this beautiful Earth…

Japanese artist Isao Hashimoto has created a beautiful, undeniably scary time-lapse map of the 2053 nuclear explosions which have taken place between 1945 and 1998, beginning with the Manhattan Project's "Trinity" test near Los Alamos and concluding with Pakistan's nuclear tests in May of 1998. This leaves out North Korea's two alleged nuclear tests in this past decade (the legitimacy of both of which is not 100% clear). Each nation gets a blip and a flashing dot on the map whenever they detonate a nuclear weapon, with a running tally kept on the top and bottom bars of the screen. Hashimoto, who began the project in 2003, says that he created it with the goal of showing"the fear and folly of nuclear weapons." It starts really slow — if you want to see real action, skip ahead to 1962 or so — but the buildup becomes overwhelming.

Japanese artist Isao Hashimoto has created a beautiful, undeniably scary time-lapse map of the 2053 nuclear explosions which have taken place between 1945 and 1998, beginning with the Manhattan Project’s “Trinity” test near Los Alamos and concluding with Pakistan’s nuclear tests in May of 1998. This leaves out North Korea’s two alleged nuclear tests in this past decade (the legitimacy of both of which is not 100% clear).
Each nation gets a blip and a flashing dot on the map whenever they detonate a nuclear weapon, with a running tally kept on the top and bottom bars of the screen. Hashimoto, who began the project in 2003, says that he created it with the goal of showing”the fear and folly of nuclear weapons.” It starts really slow — if you want to see real action, skip ahead to 1962 or so — but the buildup becomes overwhelming.

My visit was not to drool over the science and the “amazing” engineering feat that was accomplished with the Manhattan Project, though, but to feel into this darkest of the darkest of humanity’s disconnect from the heart.   I intent to share more reflections on this at some point.

MAY PEACE PREVAIL ON EARTH

MAY PEACE PREVAIL ON EARTH

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2 Responses to My visit to Hanford’s “Reactor B’, World’s First Full-Scale Plutonium Factory.

  1. Pingback: A Visit to Belgium’s Nuclear Waste Depository Lab, HADES, 750 feet Underground… | Not All Alleged Is Apparent…

  2. Pingback: Mid-May 2017 Radiation Spikes had Nothing to do with Hanford. Schumann Resonance Frequencies are not increasing either. [Sigh…] | Allegedly Apparent Blog

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