It’s the winter of 1954 and Walter Zinn at Argonne is, among other things, inventing the boiling water reactor, which will eventually be the second most popular around the world. As usual, he’s doing it on a shoestring, or more precisely, one of his favourite offsiders, Harold “Butch” Lichtenberger, is building it. Here’s Norman Hilberry, Zinn’s 2IC, writing to Lichtenberger: Dear Harold, Wally. . .
John Mecklin’s plea for sanity re North Korea
Mecklin’s Reuters article is essential reading. My research on North Korea’s attainment of nuke capability fully supports Mecklin’s thesis that the so-called crisis is “a media puppet show put on by Chairman Kim and President Trump for their own public relations purposes.”
A Strauss speech
Lewis Strauss headed America’s Atomic Energy Commission for three years from 1953 and it is fair to say few have influenced the history of nuclear power as much as he did. Although a complex character, generally the weight of history judges him as a negative force. On January 21, 1954, the First Lady, Mamie Eisenhower, launched the first nuclear submarine (though the reactor isn’t yet on board at. . .
Early pursuit of a thorium reactor
In the August, 1956 issue of Nucleonics, the nuclear power industry’s US trade journal, I found this jotting: On December 7, 1954, Con Edison notified AEC that it was launching talks with various manufacturers in the nucleonics field. From several proposals made to it, the company selected a pressurized-water enriched-uranium thorium-converter reactor. I haven’t teased out this design strand but. . .
It’s February 1954 and English atomic mandarin John Cockcroft is trying to talk his UK Atomic Energy Executive colleagues into more European collaboration: “Plans are now being prepared by several European countries for the construction of new reactors. We are receiving a number of requests and ought now to develop a consistent policy.” Cockcroft’s instinctive and deep desire for nuclear. . .
Belgium’s nuclear education
In early 1952, Argonne’s head, Walter Zinn writes to his key administrative offsider, Joseph Boyce: “This is to place on record your responsibilities in connection with the training of Belgian scientists in unclassified reactor technology.” Boyce swings into action, setting up a full-time training program for five Belgian engineers, four physicists and a chemist (a later trade journal article. . .