The ABC matutained programe for nuclear weapons research, development, production, and
testing, production ofphronium and weapons grade wrentumy, milling and refining of uranium ore,

biomedical research into the effects of radiation and nuclear weapons, basic mucleer research in

fields such as chemistry, physics, and metallurgy; development of miclear reactors, promotion of a
civilian nuclear power industry: axl conduct of mernational Atoms-for-Peace activities. [x was
unique among federal agencies in combining responsibilities to both promote and regulate a
in 1947 the AEC aseumed control of research and production facilities created by the Manhatién
Bagineer District (MED) during Work) Wer 0. The facilities were soattered from coast to coast,
with the primary ones being located in Oak Ridge, Tennessee; Hanford, Washington, and Los
Alamos, New Mexion, At Uak Ridge the Manhattan Project established factities for the
production of bomb grade uranken. Tt also had intemded to build mulear reactors for phutonuum
production there as well, When research showed that orocdhection reactors would generare far
more beat and radioactiviry than scientists had previcusly believed, the Manhattan Project located

pluiontum production fheilities near Hanford, Washington. During the war the E. 1. DuPont de

Nemours Company buik ond operate? Hanford plutennum production facilities for the Manhattan

Engineer District,

‘Yo operate its facilities the MED had used contractors while reteining goverment awnership of
plants, laboratories, and buildings. The AEC contimed this system of government-cronedi,
contractor-opersted (GOCIh facilities, At Hanford, DuPont pulled our as the operating
comtractor after the end of the war. In 1946 General Electric acquired the managing and
opersing contract and assumed resmonuibility for producing chuontum.
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory: Shortly efter the MED bepan bulding phuaontum
production facilities at Hanford, 2 formed s research laboratory to support production acthities.
The laboratory, eventually called che Hantord Laborstories, launched pragrams to study radiation
damage to reactor materials, to mvestigaie fhel processing techniques, to develop processes for
the removel of usefial fission prexlucts from reactor wastes, and to study the biclogical and
environmental effects of production reactor operation Because the MED intended to place buge
production reactors on the Cohumina River, there wes special interest in studying reactor
environmental unpact and effects on aguatic Wie, nerticularly since the Colarbia provided
drmking water and food for millions of people m the Pacific Northwest,
To mvestigate the biclagical and exvironmental effects of production reactors, for example, the

Hanford Laboratories launched several programs. One oxemined the effect ofthe reactors on

river fish and aquatic biology and anotherthe effects on the enviroment of radicisatones released
routinely during reactor operstion. This effort focused on the effects ofiodine, trithum,
radioactive particles, and phrtoniumon the environment awl man The Hanford Laboratories sisa


initisted programs to study the sheorption of radioisotopes through the human gastrointestinal
tract and methods of treating radiation injury Until the middle 1960s the Hanford Laboratories
focused on nuclear technology and the environmental and health effects ofradiation.

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