RICHLAND, Wash. – The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will open online registration for the B Reactor National Historic Landmark’s 2013 tour season on March 2 at noon. Families with children above the age of 12, along with middle schools and high schools, are invited to sign up for the coveted tour slots.
A portion of tour slots will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis through an online registration system at http://manhattanprojectbreactor.hanford.gov/, or by calling (509) 376-1647 or stopping by the B Reactor Tour Headquarters located at 2000 Logston Blvd., in Richland off Hwy. 240. Tours begin and end from this location and are about four and a half hours. The tours are free and visitors are encouraged to bring their cameras. Citizens from all countries are welcome on the B Reactor tours.
In addition to the open public tours, DOE is also planning 43 group tours and 20 school tours during the 2013 season. Those can be reserved by calling the B Reactor Tour HQ at 376-1647.
Children between the ages of 12-17 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian on the tour.
Tour Dates and Times
Tours will begin at 8 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. on the following dates: April 1, 2, 3, 6, 15, 16, 18, 20, 29 and 30; May 1, 4, 14, 28, and 29; June 8, 11, 12, 24, 25 and 26; July 8, 9, 10, 22, 23, 24 and 27; August 5, 6, 7, 19, 20, 21 and 24; and September 3, 4, 16, 17, 18 and 21.
Visitors will see the front face of the reactor, fan ventilation rooms, water valve pit, water process laboratories, accumulator room, and the reactor’s control room. In addition to the areas toured last year, visitors will also have access to the base of the front face stairway which gives a better view of the reactor’s cooling water risers and cross-header valves.
B Reactor is the first full-scale plutonium production reactor in the world. The B Reactor qualified for listing as a National Historic Landmark for its significant contribution to the broad national patterns of United States history. In August 2011, the B Reactor Preservation Project was honored with the Chairman’s Award from President Obama’s Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.
Since DOE began its public access program in 2009, almost 30,000 visitors from all 50 states and 60 countries have visited B Reactor. DOE expects more than 10,000 visitors this year.
Last year visitors who went on Hanford tours brought nearly $2 million into the local economy, according to the Tri-Cities Visitor and Convention Bureau. When coming for a tour, visitors stay in local hotels, eat in restaurants, and take other tours.