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  • Writer's pictureLucas Nava

Castillo: Display tells FUSRAP's "history and significance in ... communities across the nation"

Updated: Mar 6, 2023

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An interactive, interpretive exhibit sharing the nation's history with atomic weapons manufacturing and clean-up efforts of contaminated sites was unveiled earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced at the time.

The DOE's Office of Legacy Management (LM), in partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), showed off "FUSRAP: A Legacy of Service," the historical display on the Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program, on Sept. 7, the DOE announced at the time. The announcement event was held at DOE headquarters in Washington, D.C.; the free-standing exhibit is to be used at meetings, events, conferences, and by request, according to the DOE.

Darina Castillo, a FUSRAP site manager for the LM, spoke at the unveiling ceremony. She said the display follows the timeline of the FUSRAP program, starting with 'The Race for the Bomb,' which follows the creation of the Manhattan Project, the government's project to develop the atomic bomb.

FUSRAP was initiated in 1974 to manage sites throughout the country that were contaminated during World War II and the Cold War. The project was tasked with identifying, investigating, and remediating environmental contamination caused by activities including uranium-ore processing and byproducts disposal, with the goal of returning usable land for the benefit of nearby communities, according to the DOE.

“Our hope is that the FUSRAP historic display exhibit communicates FUSRAP history and significance in these communities across the nation,” Castillo said at the event.

Work on the exhibit began in fall 2019, Castillo said in her remarks, with creators envisioning telling the "fascinating story of not just LM’s and USACE’s legacy of service, but also of the legacy of service of 55 different communities throughout our nation.”

“COVID-19 postponed this moment," Castilla said, "but now we come together to showcase the FUSRAP program, our partnership with USACE, and our 25th year of working together.”

LM Director Carmelo Melendez also spoke at the in-person event. He noted how FUSRAP-remediated sites now benefiting surrounding areas are "powerful testaments" to the agencies' commitment to supporting communities who "served their countries" during the Manhattan Project and Cold War eras.

“We look forward to continuing our productive relationship with USACE and working together to close out the final chapter of the Manhattan Project and AEC legacy story," Melendez said, "and provide FUSRAP communities with blank slates on which to write new stories of beneficial reuse.”

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