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Oak Ridge travel guide — Oak Ridge tourism and travel information

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about Oak Ridge

Oak Ridge is a city located in Anderson and Roane Counties in eastern Tennessee, about 25 miles west of Knoxville. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 27,387. Oak Ridge houses the headquarters of IPIX. Its nicknames are the Atomic City and the Secret City.

Oak Ridge geography

Oak Ridge is located at 35°59'18" North, 84°17'11" West (35.988230, -84.286312).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 232.9 km² (89.9 mi²). 221.6 km² (85.6 mi²) of it is land and 11.3 km² (4.4 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 4.86% water.

Oak Ridge history

Before 1942 the area which now comprises Oak Ridge was rural, including several farm communities: Robertsville, Edgemoor, East Fork, Elza, Bethel, Scarboro, and Wheat. These communities were by far overshadowed by their neighbors: Clinton, in Anderson County and Kingston, in Roane County.

The area was chosen by the federal government as a site for developing materials for the Manhattan Project in 1942. Maj. Gen. Leslie Groves, military head of the Manhattan Project, liked the area for several reasons. Its relatively low population made acquisition affordable, yet the area was accessible by highway, rail, and water. Because the area was partitioned by ridges and valleys, it provided some natural protection against disasters at the four industrial plants planned for producing materials for atomic bombs.

Beginning in late 1942 the United States Army Corps of Engineers began acquiring more than 60,000 acres (240 km²) for the Clinton Engineer Works under authority of the Corps' Manhattan Engineer District. The K-25, S-50, and Y-12 plants were each built in Oak Ridge to separate Uranium-235 from Uranium-238. The X-10 laboratory was established as a pilot plant for production of plutonium. Because of the large number of workers recruited to the area for the Manhattan Project, the Army built a town for project workers. The time required for the project's completion caused the Army to opt for a relatively permanent establishment rather than a camp of enormous size. In addition to a city of more than 20,000 residents, temporary construction personnel swelled the wartime population of Oak Ridge to as much as 70,000.

The use of the atomic bombs against Japan demonstrated to the people working at Oak Ridge for the first time just what they were working on. Two years after World War II ended, Oak Ridge was shifted to civilian control, under the authority of the Atomic Energy Commission. In 1959 the town was incorporated, and a city manager and City Council form of government was adopted by the community rather than direct federal control. Three of the four major facilities created for the wartime bomb production are still standing today. K-25, where uranium was enriched by the gaseous diffusion process until 1985, is now being decomissioned and decontaminated. Y-12, originally used for electromagnetic separation of uranium, is still in use for nuclear weapons processing and materials storage. X-10, site of a test graphite reactor, is now the site of Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Oak Ridge's scientific heritage is explored in the American Museum of Science and Energy.

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Oak Ridge, Tennessee".

This city is also known as: Oak Ridge.

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