This introductory chapter examines three clandestine nuclear sites in the U.S.—Oak Ridge, Tennessee; Los Alamos, New Mexico; and Hanford, Washington. Oak Ridge pioneered the first large-scale plutonium reactor, while Hanford concentrated on producing the fissionable plutonium-239. Simultaneously, in Los Alamos, J. Robert Oppenheimer and his team of scientists worked nonstop designing and assembling bombs. The chapter also highlights the difference between Oak Ridge and the other sites, stating that the place was a community closely resembling a typical American neighborhood, with more opportunity for social interaction between different types of people, in which class and racial biases intervened.
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