Source: Knoxville News Sentinel | Brittany Crocker | March 21, 2018

The U.S. Department of Energy is again giving public bus tours of its Oak Ridge Facilities. 

The reservation-wide tours begin at the American Museum for Science and Energy and visit all three historic Manhattan Project sites in Oak Ridge. Visitors can get a first-hand look at federal research work going on in the city today and explore the lives of those who lived and worked behind the Secret City’s fences 70 years ago.

Artifacts, audiovisual presentations, interactive exhibits and live demonstrations immerse visitors in the historic race to build the first atomic bomb.

The Department of Energy’s tour program began in 1966 and has since attracted more than 40,000 visitors from all over the country.

Tours begin at 11:30 a.m. and last three hours. Stops on the bus tour itinerary include:

Y-12 National Security Complex’s New Hope Center: The New Hope Center’s history room features displays and a video about the Manhattan Project, the Cold War, and current Y-12 missions.

The Bethel cemetery features covered grave houses that are unique to the region, and the church is still used for special events and homecoming celebrations.

A drive by Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Spallation Neutron Source: The Spallation Neutron Source is an accelerator-based neutron source facility that provides the most intense pulsed neutron beams in the world of scientific research and industrial development.

Scientists from across the globe visit the facility annually to conduct advanced materials research that is helping advance everything from aviation design to pharmaceuticals.

ORNL’s historic Graphite Reactor: A national historic landmark, the Graphite Reactor, located at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, served as the pilot plant that led to the first production of plutonium.

Visitors can view the world’s oldest nuclear reactor and tour the interior of the building which is part of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park.

A drive by the East Tennessee Technology Park:  Tour visitors will learn about the gaseous diffusion process that enriched uranium for military and energy purposes from 1945-85.

They will also see the footprint of K-25, the largest gaseous diffusion building at the old Oak Ridge Gaseous Diffusion Plant. It was the world’s largest building when it was constructed in the 1940s.

Tour season kicked off March 2 and will continue through November 2018.

Visitors can register for tours in person at the American Museum for Science and Energy’s website or online.

Admission paid to the museum covers the cost of the tour. That’s $5 for adults, $4 for seniors and $3 for students under 18.

The museum can offer special accommodations for people with disabilities, but requires advance notice.

Participants are required to have a United States citizenship and bring a valid photo ID.