The Atomic Energy Commission: From its ineption im 1947 until as abolition in 1975, the

AEC carried out 2 Congressional mandate for a large federal role in atomic energy development.

The AEC maintamed programs for nuclear weapons research, development, production, and
testing, production ofphrtonmum and weapons grade uranium, milling and refining of uranium ore,
Momedioal research into the effects of radietion and muclear weapons, basic nuclear research in
fields such as chemistry, physics, and metallurgy, development of nuclear reactors; promotion ofa
civilian nuclear power industry, and conduct of international Atoms-for-Peace activities, Te was
unique among federal agencies in combining responsibilities to both promote and regulate a
technology. It promulgated official regulations to govera the conduct of officials implementing
many of these programs.
In 1947 the AEC assumed control of research and production facilities created by the Manharran
Ragineer District (MED) during Work War T. The facilities were scattered from coast to coast,
with the primary ones being located in Gak Rulee, Tennessee: Hentord, Washington: and Los
Ajameos, New Mexieo. The MED operated them through contracts with private universities, auch
as the University of California, and orivate companies, such as DuPoot and Union Carbide. To
develop the atomic bomb, the MED established « complex of production plants and laboratories
in which the government owned the facilities but tapped the expertize of industry and universities
through contracting out the tack of operating them.
The AEC did not change the MED's system of government-<craned, contractor opersted (OCHO)

laciliies. To provide government oversight of contractor operated facilities some distance from

Washington, the ARI intially created five field centers of operations and gave them broad
delegations of authority. Esch was to manage a different part of agency programs, and exercise!
broad authority within lunite sec by AEC Washington beadquerters. Bach, however, was to have
unusual initiative and freedom of action as long us it opermed within general palicy guidelines set
oy Washington.
The Richland Operations Office: At Richland the ABC had to oversee a large platonrum
production comples. Initial site construction had started im 1943 ard within 2 years an enormous
complex was in place. By June 1944 enproximately 79,000 workers ishored to complete
Hanford. By war's end they had built 4 plutonium production faculicy consisting of three auclear
production reactors, three chemical separations plants, are other ancillary plants. In scoordance
with the MED’s practice of emploving private indusiry to construct and operate the atamic bomb
development complex, El DuFont de Nemours and Company constructed and operated the site.
Because this facility was so large and complex, in 1947 the AC crested a field center of
operations whase sole tack was to supervise the Hanford plutonium production facility. Called
the OHice of Hanford Directed Onerstions, the AECanon changed its name to the Hanford


Onerstions Office, and, then a decade later, to the Richland Operations Office. The office was
incated in Richland, Washington, few miles fromthe Hantbrd production site. Unlike some

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