Anti-Nuke Group Fights "Manhattan Project" National Park Plan for Hanford, Other Nuclear Sites, Because It "Glorifies Bombs"

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Greg Mello, the leader of the anti-nuke organization the Los Alamos Study Group, says that national parks are great--just not at places where nuclear weapons were developed.

"We mustn't glorify weapons of mass destruction; we mustn't debase the National Park idea; we have to get our head out of the sand and face the future instead of the past," he tells Seattle Weekly today. "Having National Parks at these sites dishonors the consciousness of people involved in these [nuclear-weapons research] projects who, once the deed was done, felt incredible remorse."

Mello is talking about a new report of U.S. Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar that recommends the creation of three new national parks at Los Alamos, N.M., Oak Ridge, Tenn., and the Hanford site in Washington as a way of commemorating the Manhattan Project, which developed the first atomic bomb.

Salazar, in announcing his recommendation, played up the history of the Manhattan Project as a "transformative event," writing:

"The secret development of the atomic bomb in multiple locations across the United States is an important story and one of the most transformative events in our nation's history. The Manhattan Project ushered in the atomic age, changed the role of the United States in the world community, and set the stage for the Cold War."

Supporters of the project argue that the history of nuclear weapons production should be remembered, regardless of one's opinions of its morals.

Mello admits that protecting land (as would happen under National Park status) is a good thing. But he says that building three parks in celebration of weapons that killed hundreds of thousands of people would "will appall the sensitivities of the world."

"In Germany you can go to Auschwitz, but it's a modest remembrance, not a theme park," he says.

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