Secret Cities, 75 Years Later: Bechtel Highlights Future of Los Alamos, Hanford, Oak Ridge

New exhibit opens at Washington D.C.’s National Building Museum
May 8, 2018 9:35 AM ET

A museum exhibit profiling a largely untold aspect of a turning point of the 20th century opened today in the U.S. capital, sponsored in part by Bechtel, a global leader in engineering, procurement, and construction. The new exhibit, called Secret Cities: The Architecture and Planning of the Manhattan Project, examines the innovative design and construction of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, Hanford, Washington, and Los Alamos, New Mexico; looks at daily lives within the cities, and addresses each city’s development since the conclusion of the Project.

Seventy-five years ago, the United States began an unprecedented, highly classified transformation of open spaces, ranchland, and rural farmland in three states. In a race against enemies in World War II, the U.S. rapidly built nuclear reactors, factories, laboratories, roads, utilities, and other industrial facilities to support the Manhattan Project – the nation’s effort to design and build the world’s first atomic weapons.

The effort also needed housing, dining, medical facilities, infrastructure, and other facilities for the tens of thousands of workers suddenly occupying Los Alamos, Oak Ridge, and Hanford. These overnight communities and their continuing importance as centers of research and technology are the focus of the exhibit. Bechtel’s participation recognizes the company’s ongoing presence in national security or environmental cleanup projects at each of the three sites.

“We believe there is another untold story of Hanford, Los Alamos, and Oak Ridge, the story of contemporary cities driving American scientific progress,” said Barbara Rusinko, president of Bechtel’s Nuclear, Security, & Environmental global business unit. “At Hanford, thousands of workers are cleaning up the environment from those decades of nuclear defense activities. And Los Alamos and Oak Ridge are still going strong, making contributions in breakthrough discoveries and national security science. They’re modernizing their infrastructure with sustainable practices for the next 75 years and Bechtel teams are proud to be part of that future.”  

Bechtel has performed substantial environmental cleanup at Hanford and is building the Waste Treatment Plant to safely treat liquid radioactive waste stored in underground tanks there. At Los Alamos, Bechtel is part of a consortium managing and operating Los Alamos National Laboratory. At Oak Ridge, Bechtel leads a consortium managing and operating the Y-12 National Security Complex as well as a sister facility near Amarillo, Texas called the Pantex Plant.

With the cooperation of the National Building Museum, Bechtel is proud to share this ongoing story on the Bechtel Build 100 blog:

If you go:

The National Building Museum is located at 401 F St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001. Secret Cities: The Architecture and Planning of the Manhattan Projectopen May 3, 2018 and closes March 3, 2019. Watch a video trailer here.

About Bechtel

Bechtel is one of the most respected global engineering, construction, and project management companies. Together with our customers, we deliver landmark projects that foster long-term progress and economic growth. Since 1898, we’ve completed more than 25,000 extraordinary projects across 160 countries on all seven continents. We operate through four global businesses: Infrastructure; Nuclear, Security & Environmental; Oil, Gas & Chemicals; and Mining & Metals. Our company and our culture are built on more than a century of leadership and a relentless adherence to our values, the core of which are safety, quality, ethics, and integrity. These values are what we believe, what we expect, what we deliver, and what we live.