Although it can hardly be considered "travel", I wanted to share with you all the fun trip I had through my internship program this Thursday. Where I live is fairly close to the Hanford site, which for those of you who don't know, was where the United States took Uranium and turned it into Plutonium for use in nuclear bombs during World War II. It was part of the Manhattan Project, and was shut down in 1942. Most of the buildings have been cleared out by now, but there's still a cleanup project going on and the B-Reactor is part of a national historical park.
Basically, we hopped on a bus and got a tour through the Hanford site which was really incredible to see. The very few buildings which are still standing are completely abandoned, and it makes it seem like a ghost town. Just knowing that 70 years ago there were thousands of people living out there was incredibly strange.
I'd been on this tour before, and this year was a little more rushed so I was pretty sad about that, but we still got to see most of the areas of the B-reactor. When you first walk in you get to see the giant "pile" that they inserted the Uranium into to turn it into Plutonium. It's absolutely massive. And the whole thing only produced 7oz of Plutonium for every ton of Uranium! After watching a DVD on the history of the Hanford Site we were taken around the building and shown some of the other rooms. Most of the rooms have been preserved to show you what it was like when it was operating, which is really neat to see.
All of the rooms are painting mint and white, with tons of industrial pieces - it's basically my dream aesthetic. My favorite part of the whole place though, is that all of the signs are hand painted. Even little things like the labeled numbers for buttons in the control room are beautifully hand made. I loved being able to see the craftsmanship of people being maintained and preserved so well. I seriously wanted to take some of the signs home with me!
Overall, it was a really fun day and I highly suggest that anyone in eastern Washington take a day to go check it out. It's a great educational tour in addition to being just generally fun and interesting!