Oak Ridge National Laboratory


News Release

Media Contact: Fred Strohl (strohlhf@ornl.gov)
Communications and External Relations


Memo to News Editors and Assignment Desks

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Feb. 2, 1995 — Museum display areas at the Department of Energy's (DOE's) Graphite Reactor, a registered National Historic Landmark at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), have been given a face-lift during the past several months.

The Laboratory has updated displays on ORNL science and technology; installed weather-resistant outdoor signs; landscaped the public walkway to the reactor; and improved reactor buildings. The reactor is open to the public seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on holidays.

As a National Historic Landmark site, the Graphite Reactor is one of Tennessee's most popular historic tour sites. Visitors may view the reactor's fuel loading face and the original control room and isotope-handling areas, and hear a push-button taped description of the reactor and its history.

The theme of the new displays in the museum exhibit area on the main floor is "ORNL: Important to the Nation, Important to You." The 12 new displays feature current research and development in the following areas: nuclear medicine; biological and environmental research; advanced computational sciences; advanced materials; medical technology; science education programs; DOE user facilities; fusion energy; the Advanced Neutron Source project; energy efficiency in buildings, appliances, and transportation; and environmental remediation and waste management.

Two new "user friendly" touch-screen video presentations entitled "Bringing Science to Life" and "Technology Transfer Opportunities in Oak Ridge" are available to describe the important and diverse work ORNL is doing and how that work is being moved from the laboratory into the marketplace.

The Graphite Reactor was built in 1943 as part of the World War II Manhattan Project and operated for 20 years, from Nov. 4, 1943, to Nov. 4, 1963. In recognition of the significant contributions made by the facility, the U. S. National Park Service designated the reactor a Registered National Historic Landmark on Sept. 13, 1966, and it was formally opened to the public on Aug. 29, 1968. It is the world's first continuously operated nuclear reactor and is the only federally owned reactor to be opened to the public on a regular basis.

The reactor is one of three stops available on ORNL's self-guided tour program for visitors. Other stops include the New Bethel Church Interpretive Center--a pre-1942 structure maintained by the federal government as a wartime meeting room for World War II Manhattan Project scientists and engineers during construction of the laboratory--and the ORNL Visitor Overlook.

For more information on the Graphite Reactor or the self-guided tour, please contact the ORNL Public Affairs Office at (865) 574-4163.