New law expands Alpine Lakes Wilderness, preserves Hanford's B Reactor as national historic park

SEATTLE (AP) — Legislation to preserve Hanford's B Reactor as part of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park has been signed into law.

The provision was among dozens of public-lands measures included in the National Defense Authorization Act that President Barack Obama signed into law Friday.

The measure expands the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area east of Seattle by 22,000 acres. It protects Illabot Creek in Skagit County, the 10-mile Pratt River and a segment of Middle Fork Snoqualmie River as Wild and Scenic.

It creates the Manhattan Project National Historical Park as one unit with three sites, including Hanford.

Hanford near Richland, Washington, was created during the Manhattan Project in World War II to make plutonium. The B Reactor was the first full-sized nuclear reactor in the world and made the plutonium for the bomb that was dropped on Nagasaki, Japan.