Corporate histories

Unless you’re lucky, it’s almost impossible to get behind the facades erected by most companies. Westinghouse and General Electric dominated global reactor sales over the 1950s to 1970s, and while there is plenty of public material about them, the real skinny is nigh impossible to get. However, John Simpson, who headed up Westinghouse’s reactor business for years, wrote a book-length history of his company’s nuclear work. It’s refreshingly detailed, though overly technical for my needs. If there were a musty archive of records kept by either company from that era, I’d love to write a “real” story of commercial reactor development. In the meantime, Simpson’s book is gold. For example, I like the following para (p. 159), which is surplus to my needs but begins to reveal some of the Westinghouse engineers behind the scenes:

In August 1955, the growing Westinghouse study group was designated the Commercial Atomic Power Activity (CAPA) with division status. It reported to Weaver who, as vice president of the atomic power divisions, still reported to Price. In consultation with A.C. Monteith, the utility group vice president, Weaver decided that a person with marketing experience was needed to generate more utility industry support. As a result, Carroll Roseberry, a marketing manager, was put in charge of CAPA. Bill Shoupp was named head of the technical activity. This was a bitter disappointment to him, as he had expected to become the CAPA manager. This activity was located at the old Westinghouse Research Laboratories in Forest Hills, another Pittsburgh suburb.


Simpson, John W. 1995. Nuclear Power from Underseas to Outer Space. American Nuclear Society, La Grange Park, Illinois.