Sometimes it almost seems too easy to find idiosyncratic outbursts from Christopher Hinton, chief builder of early British reactors: Thank you very much for sending me the photographs of the charge machine which you have built for Calder Hall A. It looks very nice and I only hope that it will work. If it does, it will be the first of its kind to be successful. Complicated machines were designed. . .
One of the aspects of British reactor pioneer Christopher Hinton that endears him to me is his ethical rigor. Here he is in 1955 writing to Harry Railing, joint managing director of General Electric Corporation (the UK version, unrelated to the American firm), one of the four companies selected to build a big nuclear power reactor push: Thank you for your letter of December 16th. I know exactly. . .
Lieutenant General Sir Frederick Edgworth Morgan was controller for atomic energy during Britain’s crucial period of 1951 to 1953. In a private letter to his successor in mid-1955, we find out what Christopher Hinton thought of him: It is on the question of salaries that I seriously disagree. All of our worst troubles when we were in the Civil Service arose from their unwillingness to. . .
The Atomic Energy Authority in Great Britain briefed its directors in 1955, just before the grand International Conference on the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy in Geneva, on its “collaboration” with “third countries” (you can see that UK saw itself as number two globally, a conceit that in that period was probably justified). At the end, we find this summary of. . .
Walter Zinn writes to his brilliant metallurgist, Frank Foote, in May 1955. To be honest, I’m not sure what his memorandum means, other than in generalities. What strikes me is the third sentence: “If the normal construction of the fuel element is used the thickness of the meat, which is feasible to make, becomes large.” What is the MEAT? I can only guess that in a reactor with. . .