B-Reactor close to becoming National Historic Park

By:  Bryant Maddrick -- KNDU Right Now
Source: The Spokesman-Review

RICHLAND, Wash. -- There's new legislation recommending the site become a National Historic Park.

National Historic Park status is a big deal and it would put Hanford's B Reactor in the same league as Independence Hall, Valley forge, and Lincoln's birthplace.

On Thursday, a bill was introduced with bi-partisan support from Senators Patty Murray , Maria Cantwell, and Representative Doc Hastings.

The measure moves to preserve the reactor which produced plutonium used in the first manmade nuclear explosion in New Mexico.

Now the site is already a National Historic Landmark, but this would give the reactor even more national recognition, and increase tourism revenue.

"We know that there are thousands of people who have visited the B-Reactor under it's current status and we know if it was a national park, it would drive even more visitors that understand that part of our country," explains Senator Maria Cantwell.

Since it was opened to the public four years ago, more than 20,000 visitors from across the country and world have visited the site. Tourism is expected to bring in a million dollars just this year.

The bill is expected to come to a vote in congress later this year, and if everything goes as planned, the B-Reactor could have official park status shortly afterwards.