Oak Ridge National Laboratory

On February 2, 1943, ground was broken for Clinton Laboratories, one of the national laboratories to be involved in developing nuclear fission required for wartime use in bomb making. The uranium-fueled atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, was powered by the output of Oak Ridge’s Y-12 and K-25 plants.  After World War II, Oak Ridge National Laboratory became the world’s foremost source of radioisotopes for medical, agricultural, industrial, and other uses.

The Atomic Energy Act of 1946 established the Atomic Energy Commission, which was to regulate and control nuclear experimentation and products and which inherited oversight of the scientific aspects of the Chicago Metallurgical Laboratory—the facilities at Oak Ridge and Argonne. During World War II, the University of Chicago and DuPont had overseen ORNL’s operations. The AEC recruited Monsanto to manage the laboratory, but Monsanto withdrew. In December 1947, Union Carbide and Carbon Company (later, Union Carbide), which already operated Oak Ridge’s two other AEC installations, agreed to manage the lab, which it did until 1984. Martin Marietta then became the lab operator. In 2000 a UT-Battelle partnership was awarded the contract to manage the lab. Meanwhile, the AEC was split into the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Energy Research and Development Administration (ERDA) in 1970. In 1977 President Jimmy Carter created the cabinet-level Department of Energy. Research at ORNL today focuses upon materials, environment, computer science, nuclear physics, and life sciences. Oak Ridge National Laboratory is the US Department of Energy’s largest science and energy laboratory.

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  • Title Oak Ridge National Laboratory
  • Author
  • Keywords Oak Ridge National Laboratory
  • Website Name Volopedia
  • Publisher University of Tennessee Libraries
  • URL
  • Access Date April 21, 2024
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update October 10, 2018