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National Museum of Nuclear Science & History

Oral Histories

Michele Gerber’s Interview (2018)

Michele Gerber is the author of “On the Home Front: The Cold War Legacy of the Hanford Nuclear Site” and served as the official Hanford Site historian. In this interview, she discusses her role as a local consultant on the Center for Disease Control’s research about the potential health effects of emissions from Hanford on residents. Gerber also describes her efforts to declassify the Hanford site documents. Additionally, she talks about how the United States learned the USSR acquired the bomb and explains the negative health implications of the Green Run test. She also discusses other sources of environmental pollution at Hanford, including in the soil and the Columbia River, and the health impacts on Downwinders.

Thomas E. Marceau’s Interview

Thomas E. Marceau is an archaeologist and cultural resources specialist at the Hanford site. In this interview, he discusses the geological history of the Hanford area and the Native American tribes that have lived in the area for thousands of years. He also highlights how the displacement of Native Americans has resulted in a cultural and historical crisis for these tribes, because their identities, lives, and communities revolve around the lands their ancestors inhabited. He emphasizes the importance of risk assessments of the Hanford land that include the perspective and concerns of Native American tribes.

General Leslie Groves’s Interview – Part 11

In this segment, Groves discusses the establishment of the project sites at Los Alamos and Hanford. He talks about the role Oppenheimer had in influencing the choice of the Los Alamos site, and the planning that went into ensuring the site was both accessible but would not draw attention. In regards to Hanford, he talks about the innovative efforts to gauge water pollution and protect the salmon in and around the Columbia River.