Hide from Rickover!

Hyman Rickover was a larger-than-life (if elf-sized) character in the early history of nuclear reactors, and I feature him in the book. But I can’t include every Rickover drama – there were too many! Engineer Salomon Levy worked for General Electric in the 50s. GE’s nuclear laboratory, government-funded Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory, was building an experimental submarine reactor for Rickover. Rickover, brilliant yet capriciously cruel, visited often:

When the Admiral and his top lieutenants visited the Knolls, the relevant issues were defined, attendance was specified, and considerable staff work was carried out ahead of the meeting to facilitate decision making. Even at my low level in the organization, you could feel the electricity in the air during these periodic visits, and anybody who was not involved was instructed to stay away.


Levy, Salomon. 2007. 50 Years in Nuclear Power: A Retrospective. American Nuclear Society, Chicago, Illinois, p. 13.