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Interview with Duane C. Sewell, May 20, 2004


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Narrator affiliation: Operations Manager, Lawrence Livermore; Asst. Sec. of Energy for Defense Programs

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Sewell, Duane C., 191. Interview, 2004 May 20. MS-00818. [Transcript]. Oral History Research Center, Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.


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Nevada Test Site Oral History Project University of Nevada, Las Vegas Interview with Duane Sewell May 20, 2004 Livermore, California Interview Conducted By Mary Palevsky with Carol Gerich of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory © 2007 by UNLV Libraries Oral history is a method of collecting historical information through recorded interviews conducted by an interviewer/ researcher with an interviewee/ narrator who possesses firsthand knowledge of historically significant events. The goal is to create an archive which adds relevant material to the existing historical record. Oral history recordings and transcripts are primary source material and do not represent the final, verified, or complete narrative of the events under discussion. Rather, oral history is a spoken remembrance or dialogue, reflecting the interviewee’s memories, points of view and personal opinions about events in response to the interviewer’s specific questions. Oral history interviews document each interviewee’s personal engagement with the history in question. They are unique records, reflecting the particular meaning the interviewee draws from her/ his individual life experience. Produced by: The Nevada Test Site Oral History Project Departments of History and Sociology University of Nevada, Las Vegas, 89154- 5020 Director and Editor Mary Palevsky Principal Investigators Robert Futrell, Dept. of Sociology Andrew Kirk, Dept. of History The material in the Nevada Test Site Oral History Project archive is based upon work supported by the U. S. Dept. of Energy under award number DEFG52- 03NV99203 and the U. S. Dept. of Education under award number P116Z040093. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in these recordings and transcripts are those of project participants— oral history interviewees and/ or oral history interviewers— and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U. S. Department of Energy or the U. S. Department of Education. UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 1 Interview with Duane Sewell May 20, 2004 Conducted by Mary Palevsky with Carol Gerich of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Table of Contents Introduction: born Oakland, CA ( 1918), family background, childhood in Los Angeles, CA, education 1 Memories of the Great Depression, train travel through the American Southwest, Harvey Houses 4 Details education in California, work at UCB Radiation Laboratory 5 Work with cyclotrons at UCB Radiation Laboratory 7 Safety issues at the NTS and participation in Hardtack II ( 1958) 9 Ernest O. Lawrence, Herbert F. York, and the founding of LLNL 10 Challenges re: safety concerns at LLNL 12 Memories of Pearl Harbor ( 1941), initiation of the Manhattan Project and founding of ORNL, and work on separation of U- 235 and generation of plutonium 14 Cultural environment at ORNL in the 1940s re: segregation and treatment of African- American workers, and treatment of “ Yankees” by Southerners 19 Feelings about Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and the end of World War II, and treatment of Japanese internees during the war 20 Work of Manhattan Project scientists after World War II and during the Cold War 20 Continuing work on cyclotron project, and later move into weapons work at LLNL 21 U. S. competition with USSR and the need to develop weapons during the Cold War 24 Recalls early participation in tests, and developing a matrix organization at LLNL to conduct testing 27 Baneberry ( 1970) and subsequent formation of CEP 32 Becomes Assistant Secretary of Energy for Defense Programs ( Carter Administration) 33 Differences between LLNL and LANL at the NTS 35 Conclusion: analysis of early testing by LLNL 37 UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 1 Interview with Duane Sewell May 20, 2004 in Livermore, California Conducted by Mary Palevsky with Carol Gerich of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Mary Palevsky: OK, we’re going. So you can tell me your name, et cetera. Duane Sewell: My full name is Duane C. Sewell and my birthday is August 15, 1918. Where you were born? Born in Oakland, California. And what were your parents’ names? My father’s name was Earl and my mother’s name was Hazel. Oh, it just occurred to me. I wasn’t going to ask you this, but had they been in California for a long time or—? Well, yes, they had, but they were from the Middle West. My father was from, I’ve forgotten, Nebraska, I think, and my mother was from Illinois, and they met one another back there and got married, came out to the West Coast. My father was a traveling salesman and he was a good salesman. He really made the rounds. He eventually sold concrete pipe that he helped design the machine that made the things. And we ended up one occasion was interesting. He had a job in Elizabeth, New Jersey. We went back and I ended up the last, oh, three or four weeks of grammar school back there because he was at a job of installing a pipe machine in the prison in New Jersey, the state prison, and then did a good job of that so they sent him down to the prison in Raleigh, North Carolina to install one of the pipe machines. Wow. So he was technically- minded and good with his hands. Yes. UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 2 So you probably got some of that from him, I imagine. Yes, I could have because he was— he never finished college but he went to the University of Illinois and he was a kind of a self- made man and was a good engineer. He could really design things well. And then we came out to the West Coast and he got involved in an ironworks out there. Yes. So we think of traveling salesmen like someone going around with, you know, household stuff but this is really an industrial— Big piece of machinery that he had designed and was selling to people that were going to install— yes. Now where were you in the family? Did you have brothers and sisters? I did not. I was the only child. You were the only child. And my first wife was an only child because her father died before she ever knew him. What was her name, your first wife? Elizabeth. Ruth was actually her first name. Ruth Elizabeth. Ruth Elizabeth, and you called her Elizabeth. Yes. OK. So you’re in Oakland and you go to high school and you end up, what, being interested—? No, I never went to school in Oakland. My folks moved down to Los Angeles and we were out in the western part of Los Angeles before it was a big town at all, and it was the days when I remember we could go down to Venice Beach and there was nobody on the beach and we could go swimming. We lived just a few miles back from that and there was nothing between where we lived and the beach. UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 3 Yes, I know that area. Yes, it��s in the Baldwin Hills. In fact my folks were the first ones that moved out into the Baldwin Hills. I don’t know if they still call it that or not. They do. They do. Yes, we were the first house out there. Wow! Now at Venice Beach at that time, we’re talking what, the twenties? Yes. Was it— I mean do they have the people on the beach with the different entertainers and all that sort of—? Oh no, no, no. No. It was just empty then. It was just empty then. Yes. Because I think in the 1930s during the Depression I’ve heard stories of other things happening out there. Yes, that’s right, but no, there was practically nothing out there at that time. Interesting. Interesting. So you go to school at public schools in the Los Angeles area? Yes, I went to public school in the Baldwin Hills area and then back on the East Coast for a short time in Elizabeth, New Jersey, then came back up to the West Coast. We moved down to El Segundo because the Depression hit when we were on the East Coast. In fact, my mother and I arrived in New York on the day that the Depression, the big bust, occurred. [ 00: 05: 00] You mean the stock market crash? Yes. Wow! Do you have any memories of that or—? UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 4 I sure do. It was a real shock to obviously everyone and I didn’t know the importance of it because I was just a kid at the time. It was actually Christmas Eve that we got back there because the train we were on coming out from Los Angeles, they had a train wreck ahead of it and so we sat on the tracks down in Texas for twelve, fourteen hours, went down to New Orleans and changed trains there. We were twenty- four hours late getting into New York City. And that was the first long train trip I ever took. Yes. Yes. So you’re in New York and then— Then we came— my dad was given the job of driving one of the company cars back there, so we came back by automobile cross- country. Came down the southern part of the United States, down through Texas. In fact it was interesting. When we were going back there, it was the days when the Harvey Houses were in full swing, and we stopped to have all our meals. The train would go along for three or four hours and stopped, everybody would get off the train, go in and sit down, have a meal, get back on for a few hours. We didn’t make very fast time but we sure got good food. Yes. So you’re driving at this point? No, he left the car in Chicago. OK, I got it. So was that down through the Southwest? Yes. Oh, that must’ve been amazing in those days. Oh yes, it was wild country then. And the Harvey Houses were quite something, and the Harvey Girls. Yes, absolutely. It was interesting. Well yes, you don’t want to get into this. UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 5 No, it’s OK because it’s interesting because I was just at the Grand Canyon and they had a whole exhibit about that era and the Harvey Girls. It’s part of history; we get to put that in, even if it’s not about testing. Yes, I see. We’re allowed, because a little bit of life history is always— you know, helps people in the future understand who you were and what era you came from, so that’s all to the good. Yes. Yes. OK. So then you get back to California— And then we moved over to Pasadena. I went to two— well, let’s see, I went to, of course, one school in Los Angeles and then when I graduated I transferred into junior high, then I moved to a junior high in Pasadena, and then I moved to another one, second one. That was in the days when junior high in Pasadena was the ninth and tenth grade. I went to tenth grade and then the eleventh grade I went to Pasadena Junior College which was the start of the high school or going into college. And then we moved up to, oh, skips my mind right now, a town just north of Stockton, and I went to school then— I tried to go to school in Lodi but they didn’t have the classes that I needed for the last year of high school. So I drove every day for a year over to Stockton and went to high school over there and graduated over there. Then I stayed there for four years— because I could go to school at the College of the Pacific because the first two years of that, of junior college, were put into the colleges like that around the state. And that made it cheap enough so that I could afford to go. Then the last two years I went to the College of the Pacific because I was there, settled, had a job, and from there I went down to Cal [ University of California. Berkeley] and started in immediately at Cal. When I got down there, and about, oh, I guess it was a couple of weeks after I got into Cal, I asked one my companions there, we were part of the UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 6 teaching [ 00: 10: 00] group, how I could get in the Rad Lab [ UCB Radiation Laboratory] because I was always interested in that. That was interesting. I picked up the phone, called his office, and got a hold of his secretary— This is [ Ernest O.] Lawrence’s secretary now? Yes, who later turned out to be Glenn Seaborg’s wife. Right. Right. And Helen said, Well, just a minute, I’ll see if he’s busy. I asked if I could see Ernest. She stuck her head around the corner and said, He’s not busy now. Why don’t you come on up? So I went up, I talked to Ernest for about ten, fifteen minutes. The end of that time he said, Well, let me see if they’ve got a job for you over at the rad lab. It was then the old lab, the old French Building, I think they called it, which was the old thirty- seven- inch cyclotron. And so he called over there and called back and says, You go over and see Cornelius Tobias, who was the head of the thirty- seven- inch cyclotron at that time. And so I went over and saw him and half an hour after I’d made the decision to go over and talk, I was working in the place. Unbelievable! I mean the contrast. Here you have Ernest Lawrence. The contrast for the way things would be today, I mean to a young scientist today, that would almost be an impossible scenario. Yes, that’s right. Impossible scenario. But it was interesting and Ernest was very friendly and came around to see me in the lab and checked on people. I walked in the place and they wanted to know what experience I had and I said well, I didn’t have much experience, and so Toby gave me the job of going out in the UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 7 courtyard with a Simpson meter and checking the grounding hooks. I remember that and I thought, boy, is this ever a wild goose chase he’s sending me on. They must do this to all new people here. But I got out there and it was a valid statement because what they had, the grounding hooks, when you’re starting to work on a high voltage piece of equipment you always hung a grounding hook on it to start with, to make sure it was off. If it wasn’t, you grounded it before you went through yourself with it. And the Simpson meter was a continuity meter to tell if the grounding hook was hooked in solid to the ground. Well, thanks for explaining that, because I was going to ask you what that was. So you must have been interested in science already. Oh yes, very much so. Yes. And just both for the layperson and just sort of also historically, you’ve got Ernest Lawrence and his cyclotrons. Can you explain simply what a cyclotron is and then what your particular interest in what he was doing with them that made you want to work with him? Well, it was the dawn of the— really the radioactivity and the study of radioactivity. But what he did, he devised a way of using a low voltage to add, add, add, add steps [ gesturing] to get to a very high energy which was high voltage. So it was getting to quite a high voltage with the acceleration of hydrogen atoms and helium atoms. And then they would use these as atomic bullets to bombard, to shoot at, other material and turn it into radioactive material, and then study that. And he had also a sixty- inch cyclotron which had been supplied to him through, I’ve forgotten who supplied the money, but that machine, I don’t know if it’s still in use or not, but it was used for making radioactive material for medical applications. And of course Ernest Lawrence’s brother John came out to work with him. He was an M. D. and he was working in the medical field with nuclear materials to experiment with them. And so that turned out perfectly. I UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 8 got to know John quite well too, and he did a lot of good things with radioactive material in medicine. It was really the dawn of that era. [ 00: 15: 00] Right. So you’ve got the cyclotron on which you’re doing sort of pure experimental physics in a certain sense. That’s right, yes. Then you’ve got applications such as medicine. Yes. And then eventually that— OK, well, I’ll stop there. I’ll let you talk, not me. I’ll ask you something. OK. So would you eventually work on the cyclotrons themselves? Yes. Not just the grounding. No, no, we actually took them apart and put them back together. I got one bad shock on that. This is on the thirty- seven- inch cyclotron, which was one of the earlier ones. And I went in there one day and they said they wanted me to take some stuff out, so I did. And there was a condenser which is— I don’t know if you’re familiar with them or not, but it is a can of metal essentially that stores an electric charge. And so I got in and I was taking things apart and I grabbed a wire in the poles of the thirty- seven- inch cyclotron and the next thing I knew I woke up across the room. It really shocked me. Fortunately a condenser is just one shot of electricity. Otherwise it would’ve killed me if I had gotten it because it was several thousand volts. That taught me a lesson. Be careful around the place. UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 9 Carol Gerich: Is that maybe the start of your safety career? [ Directed to Mary Palevsky]: Duane is known as our safety czar, if you will. He was always careful about safety and made sure everybody else was. Mary Palevsky: Yes, I got that from the Carothers interview. You talked to him about that too, that much later at the test site when you decided not to let a shot go. [ Duane C. Sewell, interviewed by James Carothers, 1981. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory archive]. Yes. Because it was the last shot of Hardtack II? [ 1958] It was the last shot. I had about two thousand people that wanted to kill me that night. But no, actually that night I was afraid that we were going to break plate glass windows in Las Vegas, which they had done earlier. And the weather conditions were just right. We were shooting off high explosive shots at the test site to check for that. And the reason I did it, what convinced me that we had to— one last shot, we had every piece of dynamite we could find on the place, set it off. It was about a half a ton of dynamite, and one of the fellows about twelve miles downwind from where we were came with, Wow, what was that you set off? and it really practically knocked him over. And what happens is you can get conditions where the winds are just right, that it focuses and it hits the ground, bounces, and focuses again, and I was afraid it was going to focus on plate glass windows in one of the main streets in Las Vegas, so I turned it off. But there were a couple thousand people that were sure mad at me that night, I know. Yes. Yes. Yes, we’ve skipped ahead but that’s OK because it’s to the safety issue and your actual physical experience of what an unsafe condition can do, which you said, it could’ve killed you if the circumstances had been different. UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 10 Well, I watched, frankly, some of the things when I started the safety down there [ NTS], watched some of the things that Los Alamos was doing at Los Alamos and read over some of the safety reports. They killed a number of people with high explosive accidents, that sort of thing, and I was really concerned. I didn’t want to have somebody’s blood on my hands, and so I really started looking into that as kind of a side issue. It wasn’t a career goal. Right. So this is at Nevada, you’re saying, at the test site. At Nevada, at the test site, yes. So you got access to Los Alamos reports or you talked to people there? Oh yes. Yes, met the people there and talked with them. And that’s where we learned the testing business, and they were still young in the business because this was back in 1952 when we started, but they— you want to turn that off? I’ve got to get some water on my throat. Sure. Sure. [ 00: 20: 00] End Track 2, Disk 1. [ 00: 00: 00] Begin Track 3, Disk 1. I’m curious how it was— what kinds of ways had been people been killed or injured at Los Alamos that you were committed not to have happen at Livermore. Well, they had had some accidents, and I remember one accident very well. Four fellows went out in the burn area where they burn the old high explosives and somebody stepped on something and it went off and it killed all four of them, and that really shocked me and I didn’t want to have that sort of thing happen at Livermore if I could help it. And so that impressed me to look into some of the accidents and to worry about how you phrase things and talk with people to convince them to be careful and not get themselves into a bind like that. And so I worried first when we got together out at Livermore. See, when we first started at Livermore, it really was UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 11 somewhat of a mirror image of Berkeley, in which the departments were all separate, or tied together at the top with Ernest. And we moved to Livermore. Well, Ernest had asked Herb [ York] to be the— he didn’t ask him to be anything, he just said, Go out and put a lab together, and that’s what he told me too. There were no titles then. Ernest hated titles. OK, that’s what it was. Yes. Yes. And I asked him one day, I said, Why do you abhor titles? He said, Well, let me tell you, Duane, whenever you get a title I find it takes the flexibility out of an organization. If I want to move a person from place A to place B, I want to go ahead and do it and I don’t want a situation where everybody in the place is looking, did he go up or down on an organization chart? Interesting. So nobody has a title. And finally Herb went to Ernest and said, Well, what do I call myself when people call up? and he said, Well, why don’t you call yourself Director? And that’s how [ laughter] the first title got started. And he was the only one that had a title for a long time. That’s interesting. So that fits with Lawrence’s sort of looking to maximize a person to a task and feeling that the title would have been— Yes. Well, what he was worried about is this: if he took John, moved him from job A to job B, he didn’t want any hindrance of the title that would say, Well, in moving him from job A to job B, he went up or down on an organization chart. I want him to move there; that’s the best place for him, that’s best for the laboratory. And so that’s the way it was for a long time. It made it very difficult for people coming in: Who is this guy and where does he fit in? Should I listen to him or should UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 12 I not? And finally we got so big, you had to have some sort of an organizational structure so people understood where an individual stood and should they or should they not listen to them. Right. Let’s tie this back a little bit. I think that where this little strand started was the notion of how you communicate— we’ll stay with Livermore for a while, since we’ve gotten here— how you communicate the safety concerns in an organization that’s as, I don’t know what the word would be— that doesn’t have an organizational chart. So what kind of challenge was that for you then, in those early days? Well, it was a tough challenge because there were really about six organizations that were all partially responsible for safety. And so the first thing I did was look at that and pull them all together. That was a tough job because it meant that certain people actually had to be stepped on and moved around and responsibilities taken away from them, but then put the safety organization together and with the responsibility, You are responsible for teaching safety to the laboratory. You’re not responsible for safety per se. So you couldn’t use them as crutch to say, [ 00: 05: 00] Well, he’s responsible for safety. That wasn’t my responsibility, if somebody got hurt. The point was, you go to them and find out what’s the right way to do it but you are responsible, each and every one of you are responsible. It was hard to beat that into some of the people. I remember one time early in the game we had a fellow who wanted to check something on a high voltage supply and it was in a room about this big [ demonstrating] with tubes and everything in it. And he couldn’t get his meter in the right place, so he went inside and sat down with all this high voltage around him. And fortunately I caught that in time and we turned it off, and then I used examples of things like that to say, This is foolish. Think about it. You are responsible. In fact, we had one case out in Enewetak later on, where we had a nose cone on a missile on Johnston Island that we were going to launch. It had a UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 13 warhead, or an explosive, nuclear explosive in it. And we were keeping dry nitrogen pumped into it so the moisture out there in the humid Pacific climate wouldn’t get in and short things out. And the instructions were, if you want to do anything in there, you shut down, kick the voltage down, and get the nitrogen out. And in fact, I have a feeling that nitrogen is one of the most dangerous things we had, which is nothing but an inert gas. But they looked at it and they knew what the problem was and all they had to do was make one little adjustment and they had to take a meter and measure it in the nose cone, and right there somebody’s standing on the ladder, Oh, we don’t need to take it down. So one of the fellows stepped in, held his breath, and then he forgot at the end of it, took one breath, and it turns out you take one breath of pure nitrogen and bang! [ Hits table] You’re out, you don’t know what’s hit you. He collapsed in the nose cone and— then people had a hold of him right there but they couldn’t get him out. You don’t realize how hard it is to move a limp human body when he’s kind of tangled around some stuff. And it scared the living daylights out of the people. Well, then I took the foreman of that group and took him around and had him give a lecture to several groups in the laboratory to impress on them: Be careful. Don’t make decisions like that, because you can’t depend on human beings to think safety at all times. Well, I kind of got off the track there but— But I think that’s really interesting and actually really, you know, it’s making me understand something more clearly than I had before. You can correct me if I’m wrong. But what I’m getting from this is you’re dealing with powers and energies and materials that are so potent, and you’ve got a little human being, you know, who in their kitchen might say, I’m going to reach back here, even though I shouldn’t, and plug that thing, and maybe my arm’ll get stuck. But the consequence of sort of that natural— let’s get it done, or let’s be efficient— or not even taking UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 14 into consideration the pressures you all were under, that to balance that with some kind of safety program is no small task. No, you have to preach it all the time. In fact, later on when I came back out to Livermore I gave a lecture once a month, of an hour, and also to teach them to be prompt and not slop over. I had a one- hour from eleven o’clock till twelve o’clock, just before lunch, and I started at eleven and I ended at twelve. And I got people to come on time and they could leave exactly when they knew they could. But there, for example, what I did is take the foreman of the job out in the Pacific where they’d had this trouble and bring him in to that meeting to put the emotion into it that only he could, almost killing somebody on a crazy idea that they knew what the dangers were but human beings fail. Right. Right. Thanks, I think that’s important. Go ahead. [ 00: 10: 00] Well, we’re jumping a little bit but that’s OK because I think this is important information. So let’s just back up a little bit — just so we have it on the record— to how things developed at the lab and with you from— and we won’t take a long time on this— from Pearl Harbor, let’s say, and then how you end up at Oak Ridge and what happens postwar. OK. Is that too much? No. Pearl Harbor of course was a shock to everybody. Something like that just never went through my mind, it would ever happen. And it came along on the seventh [ December 7, 1941] and on the eighth Ernest came to us and said, We got a real job to do, and he talked to a number of us, so on the eighth I was working on the Manhattan Project which was just started. It wasn’t called that then, but that was the start of it, at the lab in Berkeley. It wasn’t in Livermore because we weren’t going full blast in Livermore. And it was a question then of what type of UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 15 organization you set up and how you meld it from what we had into what would meet the wartime needs, and that was up to a number of us to worry about, and that’s what we did when we worried about the question of Oak Ridge and getting Oak Ridge started. Did Lawrence tell you?— I mean you were aware of the discovery of fission, obviously. Oh yes. But did Lawrence tell you right up front about the atomic weapon or—? Oh, it had been talked about and of course we knew the potential that was there if you could make it work. And so we immediately started working, the Berkeley lab did, on separation of uranium- 235, which is the fissionable form of uranium, and separating it from the other uranium. That was the main job that I worked on, and that was what Oak Ridge was set up for, to actually invent a way of doing that and collecting that material. So that’s what I concentrated on during the wartime years, and of course it was a success. Los Alamos was put to work on the job of generating enough plutonium and checking it out to make sure you can make a bomb out of it. The reason plutonium’s better is because it’s a much smaller critical mass, so you can make a much smaller bomb, than you can with uranium. Uranium was a sure fire. In fact, it was never tested before it was fired out in the Pacific. It was the first bomb that was set off out there in wartime. The Hiroshima bomb was the uranium bomb. The Hiroshima bomb. Hiroshima, yes. And there was the question then of going and selecting some way of doing that, and Ernest had— actually he put a number of us to work in Berkeley on several different ideas, and he got us all together one day, the people that had been kind of in charge of these things, and said, How about this method? How about that method? And what did we learn? so on, and finally he came to the conclusion of the electromagnetic wave separating the U- 235 from the UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 16 U- 238, and that was the one that I happened to be working on, so we immediately made the decision, then on the basis of that experimental data, we’d go this way and concentrate on that. We’re going to Oak Ridge to set up a plant, if we can make it work, and then several of us started working on a prototype in Berkeley, up on the hills in Berkeley, and that’s when California Research and Development, a subsidiary of Standard Oil of California, got into the [ 00: 15: 00] business. Because they were put in as far as the contractor and operator of the plant that we were going to build. And in a matter of a few months we designed a plant from scratch and set it up down at Oak Ridge in Tennessee. And then Ernest— well, he didn’t ship us down there immediately. The first “ race track”, they were called in those days, of electromagnetic separators was built, put together, and they turned it on and it failed. And you’ve probably had this story also— I have it from Herb York but you can— yes, he told me that story. Oh, OK, well, Herb was down there, yes. That’s when we found all the banana peels and apple cores and lunch bags and everything else in the [ laughter]. He didn’t tell me that part. So you go down there and you find stuff in the— Yes, in the coils because the electrical coils were set up with oil around them to cool them and they had, of course, tanks around them then. And the Tennessee workers, it was a good place to throw garbage, so that’s where their garbage went. [ laughter] They shut the plant down and people at that time said, Ah, this thing’s a failure. So we went down and had to clean all that garbage out of the coils and then turned it on and then we got it to work. But it didn’t work exactly like we thought it would because it didn’t separate as cleanly as we thought we could do it, and it also didn’t separate as much. So instead of one racetrack we ended up with one, two three, four, five, [ counting] I think it was, and then went to a second stage which was a smaller UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 17 system of the same thing and then purified it one step more before we were able to get the U235 to a