The B Reactor National Historic Landmark
The B Reactor National Historic Landmark, part of the Hanford Unit of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park, is the world's first full-scale plutonium production reactor. Created as part of the top secret Manhattan Project during World War II, B Reactor produced the plutonium used in the Trinity Test (the world's first nuclear detonation) in July 1945, and the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan in August 1945 that contributed to the Japanese surrender and end of World War II. The reactor was designed and built by the DuPont company based on experimental designs tested by Dr. Enrico Fermi at the University of Chicago and tests from the pilot-scale X-10 Graphite Reactor at Oak Ridge, TN. Construction of B Reactor began in October 1943, and fuel was loaded into B Reactor on Sept. 13, 1944 - just 11 months later.
The B Reactor was named a National Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers in 1976, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1992, was designated a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark in 1994, and became a National Historic Landmark in 2008. B Reactor has been open for annual public tours since 2009, and gets more than 10,000 visitors each year. The facility has been toured by guests from all 50 states and more than 80 countries worldwide.
B Reactor tours are free of charge and are open to visitors of all ages and from around the world. Cameras are welcome.
2018 Tour Season
As part of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park, and in partnership with the National Park Service, the Department of Energy offers free public tours of the B Reactor. The 2018 season is scheduled to begin in late May and run through mid- November.
All public tours leave from the Manhattan Project National Historical Park's Interim Visitor Center, located at 2000 Logston Blvd, Richland WA. The tour lasts about 4 hours, including travel to and from the B Reactor, and begins with a short video and introduction at the visitor center. There are restrooms at the visitor center, at the B Reactor, and on the bus.
PLEASE NOTE: Guests under the age of 18 must tour with a parent/guardian or an adult designated by the parent/guardian. Each guest under the age of 18 must also bring a signed release form, which identifies potential hazards associated with the industrial environment at B Reactor and outlines the responsibilities of the parent, guardian, or accompanying adult. There is no exception to this rule. The release form may be found here. Please call us at the visitor center (509-376-1647) if you have any questions or concerns.
Generally there will be one tour on Mondays and Tuesdays starting at 8:00 a.m., and two tours per day Wednesday through Saturday starting at 9:00 a.m. and 11:45 a.m. Check the list below to view the 2018 dates;
- May 24-31
- June 1-2, 4-9, 11-16, 18-20, 22-23, and 25-30
- July 2-14, 16-21, and 23-28, and 30-31
- August 1-4, 6-11, 13-18, 20-25, and 27-31
- September 1-8, 10-15, 17-22, and 24-29
- October 1-6, 8-9, 11-13, 15-20, 22-27, and 29-31
- November 1-3, 8-10, and 15-17
Click on the registration button on the right to begin the registration process.
Please call (509) 376-1647 to inquire about tours for schools or private groups.
Cameras, cell phones and other recording devices are allowed at the B Reactor.
Non-alcoholic beverages and/or snacks are allowed on the bus. Only water is allowed inside the reactor.
The Manhattan Project National Historical Park tells the story of the people, events, science and engineering that led to the creation of the atomic bombs that helped bring an end to World War II. The Park allows visitors to explore how the creation of these weapons changed the United States’ role in the world community. The Park also addresses the consequences and legacy of the Manhattan Project, and how it has shaped the world in which we live. The Park is managed collaboratively by the National Park Service (NPS) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). DOE continues to own, preserve, and maintain its Manhattan Project facilities, and to operate them for public access as part of the Park. The National Park Service is responsible for interpreting the story of the Manhattan Project, and providing visitor services at the Park locations, including Hanford.
Learn more about the world-changing history, science and engineering behind the Manhattan Project and B Reactor, as well as the history of Native American and early settler populations at the Hanford Site, with videos produced by the B Reactor Museum Association (BRMA) and the Atomic Heritage Foundation (AHF).