b'C HAPTER F IVEI N V E N T I N G T H E T E S T I N G S T A T I O NThe desert is starting to show some small signs of activity.Bill Johnston, July 1949S safety hazards were overblown and a could say bluntly, he wrote Hafstad, Itesting site really wasnt needed. believe it would be unsatisfactory to askettling into the Scientists continued to propose that unqualified people to take responsibilityfourth floor of the Rogers Hotel on July reactors be built at their Argonne or for approvals. In the ensuing tussle,16, 1949, the IDO staff, now grown to Oak Ridge labs. 2 Zinn threatened to withdraw the breederct o r, but Hafstad made compromisestwenty-five members, suddenly found reathemselves needing to execute some Worse, a turf war had erupted. Wa l te r favoring Argonne s choice of contractors sort of party plan of their own. They Zinn learned that Hafstad intended for and calmed the waters. 3had to reassure a number of eastern vis- Johnston and other AEC field managersitors with second thoughts about Idaho. to wield a controlling amount of authori- Zinn vs. AEC Managers was only theA rumor had surfaced in Oak Ridge that t y. They would select the contractors to first eruption to set the ideals of scien-bubbles in the lava beds made it design and build the reactors, thereby tists at odds with the ideals of adminis-unsound for the reactor buildings foun- retaining direct AEC control over reactor trators at the NRTS. Scientists thoughtdation. John Huffman, one of the Oak research. Zinn cared little for this idea. administrators had little appreciation forRidge scientists responsible for one of Not one to say diplomatically what he scientific sensibilities or the creativethe proposed reactors, came to have a process; managers thought scientists hadlook. The Idaho group took him to the no public relations moxie and an insuffi -reactor site, where a careful examina- cient devotion to budgets and schedules.tion alleviated his concerns. They alsomade sure he understood the nature of The conflict played out strictly withinthe superb fishing country just up the the AEC family, but it delayed firm deci-road past Arco, a trick they may have sions about the Idaho reactor program. Itlearned from the Idaho Falls Chamber had seemed in April that three reactorsof Commerce. 1 were slated for the proving ground, butin June the number was up in the airAside from bursting bubble rumors, again. With Washington in a shuff l e, Johnston had to deal with waves of Johnston used his podium time beforedoubt coming from AEC Headquarters Rotary clubs and other local groups toin Washington. Despite the AECs provide general updates on the purposeapparently irrevocable decision in of the Site, but couldnt announce a con-February, resistance to the idea of a struction start on the first project untiltesting station was growing: it would Courtesy of the Winfield Marvel Family Se b e r. Eventually, the hash andpt em cost too much money, the Navy wanted Leonard Bill Johnston rehash in Washington at last dissolvedto keep its property, the estimates of into decisions to build four major pro-3 6'