Clinton Engineer Works
|Historical Name of Location
|Oak Ridge, Tennessee, United States
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbaseThe Clinton Engineer Works was established in Jan 1943 as a front company for the manufacturing for the Manhattan Project, which was the American effort to research and construct an atomic weapon. It was located in a quiet rural area called Black Oak Ridge across Roane County and Anderson County. It was considered suitable for this aspect of the Manhattan Project due to it being away from major population centers while offering enough potential workers, having a stable source of electricity, having ample water, and solid substratum. Land acquisition began in the fall of 1942, displacing over 1,000 families with some protest. In mid-1943, as employees slowly moved in, they named the newly established township Oak Ridge; meanwhile, Manhattan Project documents referred to the site as Site X. Facilities at the Clinton Engineer Works included the X-10 graphite reactor (also known as the Clinton Pile; a nuclear reactor with attached research laboratories), the Y-12 electromagnetic separation plant (for the enrichment of uranium-235), the K-25 gaseous diffusion plant (also for the enrichment of uranium-235), the S-50 liquid thermal diffusion plant (also for the enrichment of uranium-235), coal-fired power plants, and others. As expected, there was a decided focus on security, with all employees having to sign a security declaration that explicitly held them liable to the Espionage Act of 1917 and many subjected to screenings by lie detectors; nevertheless, Soviet spies such as George Koval and David Greenglass were able to infiltrate and to pass on sensitive information. In Jul 1945, the site made its final war time uranium-235 transport as it sent out the material that would ultimately be used in the Little Boy bomb which brought devastation to the city of Hiroshima, Japan. Site X was at its largest in terms of population in May 1945 when the Clinton Engineer Works employing 82,000 workers, 75,000 of whom lived in the Oak Ridge township. After the war, the work force began to be reduced, with the number of employees decreasing to 43,000 by late 1946. Various site operations were taken over by civilian companies, while services for the employees and their families saw a similar privatization. In Jan 1947, the Atomic Energy Commission took over the site. Later in the same year, Clinton Laboratories was renamed Clinton National Laboratory. In Jan 1948, it was renamed Oak Ridge National Laboratory; this name would survive until the time of this writing.
Last Major Update: Feb 2016
Clinton Engineer Works Interactive Map
Clinton Engineer Works Timeline
|1 Jul 1942
|Chief Engineer of the Manhattan District Colonel James C. Marshall and his deputy Lieutenant Colonel Kenneth Nichols surveyed the Knoxville, Tennessee, United States region for suitable sites for Manhattan Project manufacturing, but they were not entirely satisfied by the sites presented to them by the Tennessee Valley Authority.
|23 Sep 1942
|Leslie Groves was promoted to the rank of brigadier general. On the same day, he toured the future Oak Ridge site of the Manhattan Project in Tennessee, United States and expressed his satisfaction for this site being used for a future production site.
|24 Sep 1942
|Leslie Groves purchased 210 square kilometers (52,000 acres) of land in Tennessee, United States. Also known as Site X, it would soon become the Oak Ridge site of the Manhattan Project.
|28 Sep 1942
|The Ohio River Division of the US Army Corps of Engineers opened up an office in Harriman, Tennessee, United States to begin acquiring land, by purchase and the implementation of Eminent Domain, for Site X of the Manhattan Project.
|6 Oct 1942
|The District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee, United States issued an order to take possession of land for Site X of the Manhattan Project.
|23 Nov 1942
|A delegation of landowners whose property were taken over by Site X of the Manhattan Project in Tennessee, United States issued a petition of protest to the Real Estate Branch of the Ohio River Division of the US Army Corps.
|18 Feb 1943
|The construction for a large electromagnetic separation plant for enriching uranium, codenamed Y-12, began construction at Manhattan Project's Oak Ridge site in Tennessee, United States.
|1 Apr 1943
|Access to the Clinton Engineer Works facilities in Tennessee, United States became strictly controlled.
|17 Oct 1943
|The civilian Roane-Anderson Company, a subsidiary of the Turner Construction Company, took over the responsibility of administering the community in Tennessee, United States in which the workers at Site X of the Manhattan Project resided.
|1 Jul 1945
|The civilian Monsanto company took over the operation of the Clinton Laboratories at Site X of the Manhattan Project in Tennessee, United States.
|25 Jul 1945
|The final wartime shipment of uranium-235 left the Clinton Engineer Works in Tennessee, United States, reaching Tinian, Mariana Islands by C-54 transport aircraft 3 and 4 days later. This specific shipment of uranium-235 was used for the Little Boy bomb destined for Hiroshima, Japan.
|1 Mar 1946
|Private medical practices were allowed at Site X of the Manhattan Project in Tennessee, United States.
|10 Sep 1946
|Union Carbide, the civilian firm charged with the running of plants K-25, Y-12, and X-10 at Site X of the Manhattan Project in Tennessee, United States, signed a contract with the union United Chemical Workers.
|18 Dec 1946
|Monsanto, the civilian firm charged with the running of the Clinton Laboratories at Site X of the Manhattan Project in Tennessee, United States, signed a contract with the union Atomic Trades and Labor Council.
|1 Mar 1949
|The military hospital at the Oak Ridge site of the Manhattan Project in Tennessee, United States was transferred to civilian control by the Roanne-Anderson Company, a subsidiary of the Turner Construction Company.
|19 Mar 1949
|The residential and commercial sections of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, United States were opened to public access for the first time.
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|WW2-Era Place Name
|Oak Ridge, Tennessee, United States
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George Patton, 31 May 1944