RICHLAND -- Dee McCullough, 97, who saw world history made at Hanford's historic B Reactor, died Thursday in Richland.
One of the honors of his life was telling the story of what happened when B Reactor, the world's first production scale reactor, went critical during World War II, to Energy Secretary Steven Chu, said historian and consultant Michele Gerber of Richland.
McCullough was stationed in the control room when Chu toured the reactor in August 2009, just as he was when the reactor went critical for the first time Sept. 27, 1944.
The reactor reached production levels but a short while later began to slowly and mysteriously shut itself down, only to restart later.
Xenon 135 was absorbing too many neutrons, stopping the reaction, a problem that scientists and engineers were able to overcome.
McCullough came to Richland in 1944 and started work at Hanford as an instrument supervisor. He was a member of the B Reactor Museum Association and was on hand in August 2008 to help lead tours of the reactor the day it was named a National Historic Landmark.
He always was enthusiastic about sharing his knowledge of Hanford history, including in a History Channel documentary, and worked for historic preservation, Gerber said.