Oak Ridge Site
Between 1942 and 1945, the rural East Tennessee community, now known as the city of Oak Ridge, was transformed from a sparsely populated, rural farming community of 1,000 families scattered across 60,000 acres into a thriving “secret city” of 75,000 researchers, scientists, military personnel and workers. Oak Ridge was built from the ground up to separate and enrich uranium for the first atomic bomb, which was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, on August 6, 1945.
Inaccessible to the public, not appearing on a single map and yet consuming 20 percent more energy than all of New York City, Oak Ridge enriched uranium at its four plants through electromagnetic separation at Y-12, gaseous diffusion at K-25 and liquid thermal diffusion at S-50. The graphite reactor at X-10 used neutron fission to separate uranium for the creation of plutonium, a process that started in Oak Ridge and was completed at the Hanford facility.
Tour the historic Oak Ridge Site and explore the American Museum of Science and Energy, the New Hope Center and museum at the Y-12 National Security Complex, the historic X-10 Graphite Reactor, at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the former K-25 plant site and the world-class Spallation Neutron Source laboratories, where cutting-edge scientific research continues today. The Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the largest of its kind in the country, conducts innovative, world-impactful research into energy, security, materials, computing engineering and much more.