The historic importance of the Manhattan Project is not questioned. During World War II, the United States launched a top-secret effort to build an atomic bomb. U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Leslie Groves, who headed the project, selected a rural area west of Knoxville for uranium enrichment operations.
Oak Ridge — the "Secret City" — appeared seemingly from nowhere to become a city of 75,000 at its peak. Four plants, each focused on a different nuclear process and given code names (K-25, X-10, Y-12 and S-50), sprang up at the site known as the Clinton Engineer Works. At Hanford, workers produced plutonium. Los Alamos was the home of research, design and assembly for the weapons.
Uranium enriched at Y-12 was used in the first atomic bomb, which destroyed the Japanese city of Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945. Days later, after a second atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, the Japanese surrendered.
The U.S. Department of Energy will work with the National Park Service to develop the far-flung park. In developing the concept, DOE designated three Oak Ridge sites as "signature facilities" — the former K-25 gaseous diffusion plant, the Graphite Reactor at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Beta-3 caultrons at the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant. The American Museum of Science and Energy has been proposed as a hub for the Oak Ridge portion of the park.
The new park will expand the already considerable presence of the National Park Service in the region. Other Park Service units in East Tennessee are the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, Obed Wild and Scenic River and the Andrew Johnson National Historic Site. Also, there are three national trails in East Tennessee — the Appalachian Trail, the Overmountain Victory and Trail of Tears national historic trails.
The Manhattan Project National Historical Park will preserve Oak Ridge's World War II and Cold War legacies, attract a number of tourists to the city and increase awareness of an important chapter of American history.
Paris (Tennessee) Post-Intelligencer on fiscal note process:
When the state Legislature enacts a new law, there's nearly always a price tag attached.
The size of the price tag and who's going to pay the bill can be a major part of the debate over passage. It's not hard to see that getting the price right can become a political hot potato.
It's in the interests of those who sponsor a bill to declare as low a price as possible, and the opposite is true for opponents: They'd like to see a high price tag.
The procedure for establishing such a price tag, called a "fiscal note" in government-speak, is a review by a fiscal review committee of members from both houses of the legislature.
That committee at times has been accused of political favoritism. Now a bill is being prepared for the upcoming legislative session to review how the fiscal review committee reaches its decisions.
The proposal would require the committee's director or a staff member to present information about how they determine the dollar amount of a fiscal note and to describe their review process.
That seems reasonable, as long as that doesn't burden the committee with useless paper work. The goal is the classic one of government by the people: open agreements, openly arrived at.