Interview with John Fox

Dublin Core


Interview with John Fox


Hanford (Wash.)
Hanford Site (Wash.)
Hanford Nuclear Site (Wash.)
Richland (Wash.)
Hanford Waste Vitrification Plant (Wash.)


An interview with John Fox conducted as part of the Hanford Oral History Project. The Hanford Oral History Project was sponsored by the Mission Support Alliance and the United States Department of Energy.


Hanford Oral History Project at Washington State University Tri-Cities




Those interested in reproducing part or all of this oral history should contact the Hanford History Project at, who can provide specific rights information for this item.

Date Modified

2016-07-21: Metadata v1 created – [RG]

Oral History Item Type Metadata


Bauman, Robert


Fox, John


Washington State University - Tri Cities


Northwest Public Television | Fox_John

John. Fox: Go and see if I can find any of the documents that I had written that were once classified and are now declassified.

Robert Bauman: [LAUGHTER]

Camera man: All right, I can adjust and play from here.

Bauman: You good?

Camera man: Yup.

Bauman: All right.

Camera man: I am.

Bauman: Okay, we’ll go ahead and started then.

Fox: Okay, fine.

Bauman: So let's start by having you say your name.

Fox: I'm John Fox.

Bauman: Okay. And my name's Robert Bauman. Today is September 4th of 2013. And we're conducting this interview on the campus of Washington State University, Tri-Cities. So let's start by, if you could, tell me about how you came to Hanford, what brought you here, when you arrived.

Fox: Ah, yes. It was 1951. I had just completed a master's degree in mechanical engineering at Oregon State College at that time. And so it was early in the Korean War period, and I had been commissioned to a lieutenant in The Corps of Engineers when I graduated from college. So I was eligible to be called up from the Reserves. And this was one place where I applied for a job that didn't have any problem with that situation because they could supersede it during the Cold War period. So I was offered a job here. And I came to work in April of 1951. I didn't have my Q clearance yet. So they put me on odd jobs downtown in what was in the 700 Area for about three months until I got a Q clearance. And then I was assigned on the rotational training program for engineers, which involved three month assignments in various components over a period of a year and a half or so to give a choice of where there was a best fit for a job.

Bauman: What were your first impressions of the place when you arrived?

Fox: Well I had been warned, because when I was in college in the late '40s, one of my fraternity brothers had been assigned up here in the Army as guarding the plant for the anti-aircraft installations and so on. And then when he was discharged, he came to school. And he kept complaining about this being the middle of nowhere and dusty and desert, nothing to do and so on. So I had a picture of what it was like. And I expected to work here for a couple of years and then go get a job in California where I really wanted to live. In my younger years, I had lived part time in San Francisco and gone to school there in both elementary school and for a short time in high school. In fact, I was there when the war broke out—World War II broke out. And that's why I moved back to Portland. And I knew it had been very mysterious during the war. And so I was sort of prepared for it. But did not ever expect to stay very long.

Bauman: What sort of housing did you live in when you first arrived here?

Fox: Well, it was very full when I arrived because they were expanding again. They were constructing new piles and a new separations plant. So the first few weeks I lived in the construction workers' barracks in North Richland, what is now right near Battelle Boulevard and George Washington Way. And took the bus. I was single; I was broke; I didn't own a car. [LAUGHTER] But there was bus transportation within the city, as well as out to the plant. So I took the bus down to town for my job in the 700 Area. And then an opening came up in the dormitory. They had dormitories for men and women at the time, although there were more men than women. So I was assigned then to W21, which was on the corner of Lee and Stevens where Albertson's parking lot presently is. And that was a very social dorm. It was mostly young engineers, some others. So I lived there until 1953, when the first privately built houses were added to the city, the Bauer Day houses in the south end of town and the Richland Village houses at George Washington Way and the McMurray area north to Sacagawea School. And that was when the three of us—Jerry, and Wayne and I—moved into a Bauer Day house.

Bauman: And where was that house?

Fox: It was 346 Cottonwood on the corner of Cottonwood and Boise.

Bauman: So how would you describe Richland in the early 1950s, when you first arrived, as a community?

Fletcher: Well, I would describe it sort of from the social standpoint. For us, it was rather an extension of college life, if you will. There was a number of bachelor engineers. There were a number of secretaries, school teachers, and so on. There was nothing to do here. You realize that in those days there was not liquor by the drink in the states of Oregon and Washington. The only place you could drink liquor was in private clubs like the American Legion, the Elks, and so on. So you needed to know somebody who could get you into those clubs. You could go in the liquor store and buy a bottle and go to one of those and get a set up. Restaurants could not serve liquor. Taverns were okay; you could drink beer, or—wine wasn't very popular in those days. They had a lot of rot gut wine--Thunderbird and so on. And then taverns, you could not stand up with a glass of beer in your hand. You had to be seated. And you could not sing. [LAUGHTER] Interesting regulations. That changed in just two or three years. I forget when the law changed on that and it opened up to liquor by the drink. But that was great for the restaurants, but it killed the clubs—the fraternal clubs—slowly. But anyway, you had to make your own entertainment. And when I arrived, there had been something called a dorm club that was a social group for the singles. And it was just in the process of morphing into the Desert Ski Club. And so for something to do in the winter, I took up skiing, which I never had learned to do. And so we went on ski trips on the weekends and so on. And that became a main social activity. Over a period of time, sort of two by two, people got married off and that dwindled away in the long run. But the interesting thing is the Desert Ski Club has stayed as an active institution. I've since attended the 50th anniversary of which Stein Eriksen was a very famous skier in the '50s came and attended our 50th anniversary of the club. As far as I know, they are still going and organizing ski trips. And that was the genesis of a lot of other organizations of various types. The Richland Players for plays. The Richland Light Opera for musical performances. The I-MAC Mountaineering Club and hiking club. The Rod and Gun Club. All sorts of different clubs were formed for that. Book clubs around the library and other things.

Bauman: Were there any sort of larger community events that you can recall from that period, Atomic Frontier Days, anything along those lines?

Fox: There was an Atomic Frontier Days, but I can't recall when that commenced or when it ended. It wasn't anything we did. The other thing besides skiing, though, was water-skiing was just coming into vogue there. And of course, the people in the ski club took that up in the summer. And another fellow and I went together on a boat and a wooden—flat bottom wooden boat that was built really for racing in the Sammamish River, [LAUGHTER] a very shallow river. So we took that up. I remember that a couple of times I put on a water-skiing exhibition of sorts. I remember going up to Moses Lake from here with a group to put on a show. We used to go out on the highlands in the Columbia River and stay out there and bake in the sun all day and even water-ski at night and what have you. So we had a lot of fun doing that. So it was make your own entertainment.

Bauman: And you mentioned that you lived in the Bauer Day home on Cottonwood. And how long did you live there? Where did you move after that?

Fox: Actually, we moved in there in 1953. One by one, we got married. There was a turnover in roommates. I was the last one there. I was married in 1959. But the town was sold to the residents in 1958 and 1959. And I bought that house, because I was engaged and was going to get married and sort of kicked my last roommate out in the summer of '59. But in 1958, I also went in with a group of people to purchase land north of Richland, because the town at that time ended at about Newcomer Street. There were few houses built north of there. And the tracts of land between there and here on the WSU campus, Sprout Road, were auctioned off in various size tracts. And so a group of six of us went together and we bid on two tracts of land along the river. And one of the girls that used to go water-skiing all the time, we used to go down to the island that's just south of the island that's in front of the campus here. She always said I want to have a house on the river by that long island because that's where the best water is for water-skiing. And she got me so interested in that that a group of us went together and bid on two tracts of land along here. And then the auction, the way it was set up, we were the successful bidder on one of those tracts, although we were the second high. But we were closer to the high bid on that tract than on the other one. So we got that one. And it happens to be the tract that adjoins the campus here. And I have the—we subdivided into seven lots and sold the one that's next to the campus. And I'm on the other end of it, the last one. So I'm the seventh house down the street from where we sit.

Bauman: Oh, okay. [LAUGHTER] So let's talk a little bit more about that. In 1958, the shift from Richland being sort of federal town.

Fox: Yes.

Bauman: Did it seem to you at the time that most people were in support of that, something that the people of Richland really wanted to happen?

Fox: Well actually, that was a second go around. There was an earlier proposal by the government—I forget in what year, but let's say a couple of years earlier around '56 or so—to sell the property. Because it was apparent by that time that they weren't going to one day shut the plant down and kick everybody out. People—married people wanted an opportunity to own their own houses. And they were beginning to move away from Richland to Kennewick mainly, but also a little bit into West Richland where they could buy property and own their own home. So the government came out with a preliminary proposal, and people thought the prices were too high, considering the uncertainty of the longevity of the town itself and the investment and the risk. So they retooled that over I guess a two-year period. You can check this out from the history. And came back with a second proposal, which gave the option of buying the house at, as I recall, a higher price, but with a guaranteed buy-back at that price, should the price go down. But I think only one or two people took that option. They took the lowest price. [LAUGHTER] As I recall, I paid $7,000 for the Bauer Day house in 1958 or '59, whenever that closed.

Bauman: So let's talk about your work then in Hanford. You mentioned you did these sort of three month--

Fox: Yes.

Bauman: --working at different places at the site.

Fox: Yeah.

Bauman: After that period, where did you work then?

Fox: Well actually, I had a lot of other changes through the years. But after that period, my assignment was in what was called the irradiation testing group, which managed special tests of radiation of unusual things in the piles—I'll call them piles because that's what they were called at that time originally—that were not related to the production of plutonium process directly. They might have something to do with something that was related to improving the process, but often they were unrelated completely. A couple of examples that stand out in my mind, one was a submarine reactor control rod that was for the nuclear Navy program. Of course, before they had completed their test facility in Idaho Falls. And they wanted to get some data on the durability of the design of the rod. And so that had to be placed in vertically in one of the reactors. And it was in—what was then very new—C pile. And put in place of one of the vertical safety rods. And it was particularly interesting in that, after that test was finished—because it had some tubing that came up for the monitoring and measuring of it while it was in the pile—in extracting it, it got stuck coming out. And it resulted in the longer than planned shutdown of the reactor. [LAUGHTER] Which did not go well with the production quotas. So that was a difficult time, but it was probably the most interesting one. Another one involved C pile before it started up. Actually, while I was on a rotation program one of my assignments was graveyard shift in the stacking of the graphite inside the pile. So I've actually been inside one of the reactors. And I was the inspector to see that each bar went in the right location and according to the plan for layout and nobody was tracking any contaminating material in there and so on. But also before that went into operation, there was a chamber underneath the reactor. And a scientist from Los Alamos named Fred Reines was trying to find experimental proof of the existence of neutrinos, which characteristically can pass through most any matter undetected. And so he got permission to build an apparatus called a scintillation counter chamber with fluid underneath that reacted—using the reactor as a shield from other background events to try to see if he could get a few counts of neutrino interactions in that chamber. He later went on, did the experiments in that deep gold mine in South Dakota and other locations and contributed to the verification of neutrino existence. Eventually won a Nobel Prize at the end of his career, at the end of his life, literally. So that was another just interesting thing. It had nothing to do with Hanford, but that occurred in that assignment. We used to, when I worked in that, our office was in the fire station at H Area. And so we used to visit, there was more of the old town of White Bluffs at that time. There was a cold storage facility, the bank, of course, which they're now talking about restoring. There was the old Milwaukee railroad station, very picturesque. Sorry they tore that down. And we used to go drive down there and eat lunch under the remaining trees. Later, I was transferred to the graphite group. And that was in 1954. And the history of after they started up the piles and they first discovered the xenon poisoning and so on. That story is well-told. But there was also what they considered a serious problem with the distortion of the graphite. The graphite was expanding under radiation. And so at the top of the reactor, it was visibly—not visibly, but measurably bending the tube that the slugs were in. And it was becoming more difficult to push them in and out and loading the reactor. And they thought if this keeps going, we can't continue the operation. In fact, it's my recollection--I don't have the records—that they shut down B-Reactor for some period of time in order to preserve it. And they built DR, which was a replacement for D in case they had to abandon it. But then there was much more concern about the expansion of the graphite. So they changed the inert atmosphere inside the reactor shielding from helium to a mixture of helium and carbon dioxide to heat it up—heat the graphite up—to a higher temperature figuring that this would anneal out the damage to the graphite. That did happen, in fact. And so I was assigned to keep track of how this was progressing according to the power levels of the reactor, because they were also then trying to increase the power levels of the reactor to produce more plutonium. But they didn't know how high in temperature was safe to go, didn't have good ways to measure the temperature in them. We were measuring the profiles. And so that was a very interesting task. And I was there doing that until 1956, when Hanford Laboratories was formed. And the Hanford Laboratories was formed and given the project for recycling plutonium in nuclear power reactors, which was their first peacetime mission for the Hanford Plant—or purely exclusively peacetime—unclassified, nothing to do with production of plutonium. But aimed at getting the maximum amount of energy out of the uranium ore resources. And so that would involve design of the Plutonium Recycle Test Reactor from start to finish and the operation of that. That was a heavy water reactor, entirely different type of unique design. And so that was a very interesting project. So I was fortunate in having some very different job assignments throughout my career here in different technologies. And that, in fact, is what kept me here [LAUGHTER] for so long is that ever-changing job challenge.

Bauman: So how long were you at the PRTR?

Fox: I was there from 1956 until early 1960s, till about '63. I forget the date it went critical and into operation and I then moved on to other things because I wasn't associated with the operation of it. But it also has a very interesting operating history, because of a particular experiment that was done there that went awry.

Bauman: Do you want to talk about that? [LAUGHTER]

Fox: Well, I think it's well worth getting somebody who knows more about it who was involved in the fuel technology. Particularly today when there is a project at Savannah River for building mixed oxide fuel elements from the plutonium that's recovered from the weapons reduction program. And they have a project there that's in about the same sort of situation as the Vitrification Plant here in budget and schedule and so on. And yet, in the 308 Building in the 300 Area, mixed oxide plutonium, uranium oxide fuel elements were manufactured for the PRTR back in the late 1950s and early 1960s. That plant has since been torn down. But the experiment that went awry was to run—the fuel rods in the PRTR were made of zirconium clad mixed oxide fuel elements, very similar to what's normal for nuclear power reactors. And that was the whole idea, that they were different mainly, and that they contained plutonium from the beginning. But it was decided to run an experiment to see how hot you could run those. If you could run them safely with the core of the mixed oxide molten in a fuel element that's about so in diameter. And I forget the melting point, but it's higher than 2,200 centigrade or something like that. And one of the fuel elements melted through the cladding and the pressure tube holding it and so on and seriously damaged the reactor. And had to have been—it was a big repair job. And I'm sure that's all recorded. I was not associated with it, but of course I heard about it [LAUGHTER] at the time. It's a story well worth telling, I think, about that time.

Bauman: So after your assignment at PRTR, then where did you go from there next?

Fox: Well, then we were working on trying to develop further reactor concepts. We did a little work for NASA when they were working on a rocket reactor that they had a design that was competing with Los Alamos for nuclear rockets. But that came to naught. Eventually, the successor to the Plutonium Recycle Test Reactor was the Fast Flux Test Reactor, fast reactor fuel. And that was just beginning. That was after Battelle took over the operation of the laboratories in 1965. So that's beyond the time frame for your main interest. But in the late '60s, the group I was in was working partly to support Exxon Nuclear in their private fuel manufacturing venture, which they later sold to Siemens, and which Siemens later sold to AREVA, which is still in operation of manufacturing commercial reactor fuel. But that grew out of the lab. And some of the people, in fact, one of them who used to work for me that I just had lunch with at the Kiwanis meeting ended up working for Exxon and so on, and he retired from that. So that was a spin-off project. The FFTF project was turned over in 1970 to Westinghouse Hanford and taken away from Battelle. And at that time I had the choice of going either with the FFTF project or staying with Battelle for who knows what. And I decided to stay with Battelle for who knows what. I decided to get out of the nuclear business and move on to other things.

Bauman: Hanford, obviously, is a site that emphasized security, secrecy, to a certain extent as well.

Fox: Yes.

Bauman: How did that impact your work? Or did it in any way?

Fox: The security?

Bauman: Security and secrecy.

Fox: I didn't think it impacted it all that much. When I was working the 100 Areas, you know, it was a secure area. Nearly everything we did was classified. We had classified filing cabinets. We kept everything. We had to account for all the documents in our possession, or sending them into the library, so on. So there was more or less an accounting thing we had to destroy any drafts, procedures, and so on. You didn't want to forget your badge going to work. [LAUGHTER] After I retired, I still occasionally had a dream about going to work and somehow getting in the building and then discovering I didn't have my badge and thought, how—[LAUGHTER] what's going to happen? But you know, I think there were a few occasions when I forgot my badge. But it was never a big issue. I was—eventually in Battelle, I had very few classified documents. And it became more of a nuisance to have a classified file cabinet and so on. And then they can through on a campaign to reduce the number of security clearances. And they asked me to give up my security clearance. I didn't have any problem with that because it relieved me of that nuisance. It wasn't a problem to me about discussing it with anybody external. I think there was probably a little more cross talk between different projects. For example, at the time I came there were some projects that were a little more secret than others, like the P10 project for production of tritium at B Reactor. And some of the guys in the dorm were working on that. And they would talk about the problems with a metal liner, the glass liner, or this, that, or the other thing. We didn’t know—you got some idea of what that project was like, but you didn't really know the whole flow sheet for it or all of that. But you were aware that it was going on. So, just stuff like that.

Bauman: President Kennedy visited the site in 1963. I wonder if you were there when he visited?

Fox: That's right. You could go out there and you could take your camera with you. And you could take a photo of President Kennedy giving his speech, which I did. And that was not long before he was assassinated that fall. I forget the date, but it was maybe September of '63.

Bauman: Mm-hmm, yeah. So you got a photo of him while he was giving his speech?

Fox: Yeah. Yes, I did from a distance. I didn't have a good telephoto lens, [LAUGHTER] unfortunately at the time.

Bauman: Do you remember anything else about his visit?

Fox: Not especially. I don't remember what he said.

Bauman: Were there any other events or incidents or things from those early years working at Hanford that stand out to you that you remember?

Fox: A sort of an off-the-wall type of one. This was back earlier on when I was at the fire station at H Area. And at that time, there was a fighter aircraft based at Moses Lake, Larson Air Force Base. And again, it was protection for the Hanford plant. And a pilot from there had a flame-out over the Yakima firing range somewhere and ejected and landed on the Hanford plant. And he landed in a tree. And they had to—Hanford patrol had to get him out of his parachute out of the tree. [LAUGHTER] How ironic in all of that space that he could find a tree to land in. [LAUGHTER] But the—I’m trying to think—there were other events. There was an incident with the startup of K West Reactor. I think that's another sort of plant war story to tell. And I don't know what's been said about that. I recall there was a deadline to meet for the startup of the N Reactor. And that was practically willed into happening [LAUGHTER] before the stroke of midnight or so on. And you know there were sort of war stories to be told about that.

Bauman: What would you consider the most challenging aspects of working at Hanford, especially in the '50s and '60s? And what might have been some more rewarding aspects of your work there?

Fox: Well, the challenging aspects were trying to get more production for the Cold War and trying to determine what were the safe limits on operation for the piles, the temperature limits, avoiding incipient boiling in the tubes in the reactor core. And I assume that there were similar issues with the chemical processing plants. Again, because of the compartmentalization of the technology, I never worked in the 200 Areas. I had no understanding of the processes there or the issues there. And the infamous green run that you've probably heard some people talk about had occurred before I came here. That was very early in the Cold War, but they still talked about it. Individual radiation exposure limits were more—I wouldn't say they were casual—but compared to today's standards, they were relaxed. Procedures for doing things were not as cumbersome as they are today. It's practically impossible to get anything done today [LAUGHTER] under the work rules and procedures by comparison. And yet, it got done and generally safely. The only really serious accident that I can recall that involved radiation was the one in the Plutonium Finishing Plant with the glove-box with the americium. And I can't recall the employee's name got the bad exposure with americium and had treatment. But I don't know anything about the specifics of it. One technical challenge that was not met that I can recall, and I had one of the assignments on the rotational training program, which I mentioned earlier, was in the fuel manufacturing area in the 300 Area. I don't know if you've interviewed anybody who worked there, but the fuel process had an aluminum can about eight inches long and about a little over an inch in diameter. And you stuck the uranium slug in it. But where you did that in order to bond it to the slug, you stood over a pot of molten aluminum silicon alloy. And you had a holder that held the uranium can and the steel tube. You lowered that into the pot of molten alloy. And the operator manually pushed the solid uranium slug into it and then lifted it out and set it aside. And then it was cooled off and cleaned off and sent over to weld the cap on the aluminum can. Well, General Electric looked at this and said, this is a cumbersome manual process. And these workers are standing over this pot of hot molten alloy. Not a pleasant job. And we ought to be able to automate this, so they set up two competing approaches to automating it. And one was, let me call it a tinker toy set up approach. It's a disparaging term, but attempt to replicate the manual process with machinery to repeat—robotic, I guess, is a better word to use--to replicate that process. And I had a short assignment for three months because I was a mechanical engineer on doing that. And I made a couple of suggestions for it, which didn't work out as it turned out. So I didn't contribute anything to make a success of that. And it was ultimately unsuccessful. The other was for the design group to design a machine to do it by some alternate process. And there was a third process proposed that was more mechanical bonding process, but that was never tried out experimentally. The ultimate result was no process failed. And they used the manual process for as long as the whole production reactors existed. The N Reactor, the dual purpose reactor, used a completely different process because it required high temperature materials.

Bauman: So then what would have been some of the more rewarding aspects of working at Hanford for you?

Fox: Well to me personally, it was interesting because it was, of course, an entirely new technology at that time. And it was apparent to me that the Hanford graphite reactor technology was not suitable for power reactors in the long run. It got me to thinking about that. I had the opportunity also later toward the end of the '60s and the early '70s to teach a course here at what was then joint graduate center in reactor design. And also for three or four years to help with a spring quarter design course at the University of Washington in Seattle as an adjunct there in their spring design graduate level course on reactor design. So that, again, was very interesting, the interaction with students, and particularly at the University with foreign students. It's a clear contrast between American educated students and foreign educated students and trying to stimulate different ideas or taking a different look at things in the design course for how to apply the basic knowledge or principles or how to make trade-offs when you also had to get into the economics of things. The Hanford plant really didn't have much of an economic element to it. It was wartime, and you know it's almost at any cost—not quite that way, but-- So it led me to be able to think of things differently and think more of the getting into application versus theory.

Bauman: Mm-hmm. Most of the students that I teach now were born after the Cold War ended, or many of them were, and don't know much about it or certainly don’t have many memories of it. So I wonder what you might say to either those students that I would have or future generations about working at Hanford during the Cold War?

Fox: Well, I didn't think of it as anything special. And quite frankly, I think that I see these ads on television daily now about Cold War warriors or so on contributing to the Cold War effort. And I never viewed it in that or through a quasi-patriotic way. It was an interesting job. It was more interesting than a lot of other jobs I might have had in a career. And the fact that it in some way contributed to the beneficial end to the Cold War was okay, but I don't feel it deserves anything special. I mean, there are quite a few other things that needed to be in place to prevail in the Cold War—the whole rocket missile technology, the miniaturization of the weapons, the nuclear weapons, the hydrogen bomb, which Hanford had little contribution to, except the early production of tritium. It just doesn't seem like a big deal to me.

Bauman: I wonder if I could ask you, at what point did you get involved in city government? And was that in any way any connection to your work at Hanford at all?

Fox: No. No, no connection. I've always had some interest in government, maybe inspired by a high school civics teachers named Wade Williams at Lincoln High School in Portland. And a high school alumni bulletin I just got last week named him as one of their outstanding teachers of all time. And he was a controversial guy, a very provocative guy. Staunch Republican in an era when everybody was a Democrat and a successful baseball coach [LAUGHTER] teaching government or social studies. But when we had kids in school I was on the school board for eight years in the late '70s and early '80s. Because I was concerned that the school that they built across the street here was mal-designed for the high school. And that the school was off on an education fad of the decade, was dictating school design according to some idealistic model that wasn't very practical in practice. But I just basically believe it’s a citizen's responsibility to give something back to the community as best he or she can, according to their abilities, whatever way works. And I felt I had something to contribute along that line. When I was on the school board, I was a dissenting vote on eliminating the teaching of world history at the junior high level, because students aren't interested in that kind of thing. And I'm not a believer in ignoring history, which is why I'm here today, isn't it? We're talking about the history of Hanford. When I retired, I wanted to do something more. And I got on the Parks Commission and ultimately, on the city council.

Bauman: Is there anything that I haven't asked you about your time working at Hanford, or that you haven't talked about yet that you think would be important to talk about?

Fox: Well as I've been saying to a number of people in talking about the Reach and the CREHST Museum and so on and some of the issues they have their currently, I think is important not to think just about the wartime mission or the wartime plus the Cold War mission, but it has led to other things. As I think I mentioned by a couple of examples I previously gave that it lead to peacetime missions. And part of that was a deliberate federal policy to say, okay, we've started this community here. There's a big investment in that community. We need to find a way to support some economy there after the wartime mission is completed and the plant is shut down. And so it led to peacetime missions. And that's led to the evolution of what's now the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and a whole science and technology. And there are unforeseen consequences of that. And the unforeseen consequences aren't always bad. [LAUGHTER] They seem to be for any action taken in the Middle East. But here, it's led to a very vital research laboratory. And we wouldn't have a branch campus of a university here today without that. And that's all an asset to the community. When the Hanford plant was originated, people came from all over the country to work here. It built a more diverse community of backgrounds and interests than in any other city its size in eastern Washington. And that persists now. It's a legacy from that. And it's built on and built on and built on in those directions. Out of the lab came the original patent for digital recording, little known, totally unrelated, so on. What else will come out of it in the future? We can't know. But I think we can estimate that something will come out of it that will be for the greater good and we'll see.

Bauman: All right. Well, I want to thank you very much for coming in today and talking with us about your experiences. Appreciate it.

Fox: Okay. Thanks.



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Hanford Oral History Project at Washington State University Tri-Cities, “Interview with John Fox,” Hanford History Project, accessed June 24, 2024,