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Peacetime use of radioisotopes at Oak Ridge cited as Chemical Landmark
Date:2/19/2008

The production and distribution of radioactive isotopes for peacetime uses at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) will be designated a National Historic Chemical Landmark by the American Chemical Society in a special ceremony in Oak Ridge, Tenn., on March 6.

Bruce E. Bursten, Ph.D., president of the Society, will present a commemorative plaque to Thomas Mason, Ph.D., the director of ORNL. Bursten said the distribution of radioisotopes, which began in 1946, demonstrated the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, providing medical, scientific, and industrial benefits to society. These important activities at ORNL are among those that ultimately led President Eisenhower to make his famous Atoms for Peace speech to the United Nations in 1953. Because of its pivotal role in making nuclear energy a powerful tool for peaceful purposes, ORNL is clearly worthy of a National Historic Chemical Landmark. Bursten is Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. The University of Tennessee and Battelle jointly manage ORNL for the U.S. Department of Energy.

The American Chemical Society (ACS), the worlds largest scientific society, sponsors the landmarks program. Only 60 chemical landmarks have been recognized nationwide in the fifteen years since the inception of this program. This makes ORNL a site of distinction, for contributions that reach far beyond the boundaries of scientific circles, touching many lives over many decades, said Judy Benham, Ph.D., chair of the ACS Board of Directors.

Clinton Laboratories, now Oak Ridge National Laboratory, was built during World War II as part of the Manhattan Project; it was the site of the worlds first operational nuclear reactor, called the Clinton Pile or the Graphite Reactor. But the end of hostilities in August 1946 left the fate of the lab in doubt as it was not at all clear whether the government would fund peacetime atomic r
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Contact: Charmayne Marsh
c_marsh@acs.org
202-872-4445
American Chemical Society
Source:Eurekalert

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