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The Museum

The sign for the American Museum of Science and Energy. This is one of the better nuclear museums out there. It is also the staging are for tours of the Oak Ridge facilities.
The museum has a sculpture garden, which includes this sculpture of the Twin towers. It is made of bits of scrap salvaged from the wreckage of the towers themselves. 
This is a sculptural depiction of an atom. The three electrons in orbit indicate that this is a lithium atom.
The majority of uranium 235 used in American nuclear weapons is isolated via the gaseous diffusion process. This is the casing for one of the separators used in the process.
Lots of interesting things for kids to do here. This is part of a pair of parabolic dishes, set on opposite sides of a large plaza. A whisper in one, is heard clearly at the other, though it is inaudible in the rest of the plaza (with the exception of a single spot, about halfway between).
Inside of the museum, it can be seen that it is a large open space, ideal for large groups, seminars, and teaching. The various sections lead off from the main gallery. Generally speaking, there is a historical section, a technological section, a theater, and an administrative section which also houses the shop.
This is the beginning of a section explaining why we had to do it. Germany actually had a pretty good lead, in development of nuclear technology.
Some of the results of what was done here. The samples above, are of Trinitite, the slightly radioactive glass formed from the sand of the first nuclear test.
An assortment of graphics and artifacts related to the production of nuclear materials, and nuclear bombs.
A little bit better look at the main historical gallery.
An exhibit detailing the late war in the Pacific, and in particular, the 509th composite group, which was to drop the nuclear bombs on Japan.
Various badges, tags, cards, and passes, the paraphernalia of secrecy in the forties.
This is an operator station, for one of the 1152 Calutrons used in the Y-12 plant. I suspect that this unit did not originally have the television set built in. The operators had no idea what they were actually doing. They just knew to keep the dial needles centered over certain numbers, and were taught who to do so, by manipulation of the various dials and switches.
The heart of the two major methods for separating U235 are shown here. To the left is a Calutron, which used magnetic fields to separate the isotope. Below is the prototype for the gaseous diffusion method, which ended up being the preferred method. For a short time, out of desperation, both methods were used, with the early gaseous plant delivering somewhat enriched uranium, for final enrichment by Calutron. There was also a third method used, thermal diffusion at the S-25 plant; but this was found way too inefficient, and the plant was closed down immediately after the war. The Calutrons were also abandoned, eventually, when the fully developed gaseous diffusion process turned out to be a far better and far faster way to produce the required U235.
A model of the older, graphite type reactor, which is still in use in Eastern Europe (though not here). This is the style of the original X-10 reactor, and of the very first reactors (CP-1, and CP-2), which were built in Chicago by Fermi. Though this type of reactor is ideal for producing plutonium, it is not such a good design, due to safety considerations, for power production.
This is the new reactor design, from the eighties, which promises to provide all of the energy we could possibly want, for thousands of years, or perhaps even longer. Sorry to soapbox here, but as long as democrats and greens have any sort of influence over energy policy, these will never be built. They are responsible for much of our current energy woes, and seem determined to see to it, that such a situation continues.
A motorized depiction of an atom, with little spinning lights for electrons. This heads and introduces the technical section.
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