INTRODUCTION: RICHLAND OPERATIONS OFFICE RECORDS PRODUCED BY PACIFIC NORTHWEST NATIONAL LABORATORY SELECTED MATERIALS ON THE EFFECTS OF PLUTONIUM PRODUCTION by Roger M. Anders Office of Human Radiation Experiments Deputy Assistant Secretary for Planning and Administration Assistant Secretary for Environment, Safety and Health February 1997 The Department of Energy and Its Heritage: The Department of Energy (DOE)is oneof the most diverse agencies in the Federal government. It was created in 1977 from a score of organizational entities from a dozen departments and agencies. DOE encourages the developmentof energy technologies in several areas--solar, geothermal, fossil fuel, and nuciear. It develops technologies aimed at promoting conservation of energy resources. DOEis oneofthe largest Federal agency supporters of basic scientific research and manages a research complex that includes someofthe nation's premier laboratories. DOE helps formulate national policies for energy use and development. Perhaps surprisingly to many, DOEalso runs the nuclear weapons research, development, and production complex as well as associated dismantlement and clean up activities. DOE'snuclear heritage comes from the World War II Manhattan Project which built the atomic bomb. The threads of DOE's involvement with nuclear issues and programs run through the followingagencies: the Manhattan EngineerDistrict (1942-1947), the Atomic Energy Commission (1947-1975), and the Energy Research and Development Administration (19751977). DOEnot only took over functions, cultures, and traditions from these agencies, it also inherited records from them. Of these agencies, the longest lived and most controversial was the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC). The Atomic Energy Commission: Fromits inception in 1947 until its abolition in 1975, the AECcarried out a Congressional mandatefor a large federal role in atomic energy development.