The Atomic Energy Commission:

From its meeption in 1947 anti its abolition in 1975, the

AEC carried out « Congressional marulate for « large federal role in atomic energy development.
The AED maintained programs for nuclear weapons research, development, production, ani
testing; production of phutommurmn and weapons grade uranium milling and refining ofuraniumore:
biomedical research inte the effects of radiation and nuclear weapons; basic nuclear research in
Belds such as chemistry, physics, and metallurgy, development of nuclear reactors: promation of4
civilian nuclear power industry, and conduct of international Atoms-for-Peace activides. Tt was

unigue among iederal agencies m combining responsibilities to both promote and rewulate a
technology. 1 promulgated official regulations toe govern the cormduct of officials naplementing
many ofthese programs.

In 1947 the ABC assumed control of research and production facilities created by the Manhatten

Eagineer District (MEDduring Worki War I The taeilities were scattered from coast to coast,

with the primary ones being located in Clak Ridge, Tennessee, Hanford, Washington and Los
Alamos, Mew Mesice, TheMED operated them through contracts with private universivies, such
as the Liniversity of California, and nrivate companies. such ax DoPont and Union Carbide. To
develop the atomic bomb, the MED established « complex of production plants and laboratories
in which the government owned the fucilities but tapped the expertise ofindustry and universities —
through contracting out the task of operating them.
The AECdid not change the MED's system of government-owned, contractor operated (GOCO)
jaciities, To provide government oversight of contractor operated facilities some distance from
Washington, the AEC initially crested five field centers of operations and gave them broad
delegations of authority. Each was to manage a different part of agency programs, and exercised

broad authority within limits set by AEC Washington headauarters. Each, however, was to have

unusual initiative and freedom of action as lone aa a operated within general policy mudelines set
by Washington.
The Richland Operations (fier: At Richland the ARC had io oversee a large plutonium

production complex, Initial site construction had started im 1943 aral within 2 years an enormous

coroples wasin place, By June 1944 approximately 22,000 workers labored to complete
Hantord. By war's end they had built a plutormmproduction fecllity consisting ofthree nuclear
production reactors, three chemical seperstions plants, and other ancillary plants. In accordance
with the MET}s nractice of emploving private industry to construct and operate the atomic bomb
development complex, £1 DuPont de Nemours and Company constructed and operated the site.


Because this facility was so large and complex, in 1847 theAEC crested a field center of
operations whase sole tagk wus ta supervise the Hantord plutonium oroduction Thouity (Called
the Office ofHanford Directed OQverations, the AEC soon changed ts name to the Hanford
Operations Office, and, then a decade later, to the Ruchland Ouerations Office. Theoffice was
located ui Richland, Washington, 4 few miles from the Hanford production ste. Unlike sore
other ARC operations offices, the Office of Hantord Directed Cmerations supervised activities,

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