Just before Walter Zinn, the creator and reactor-meister of Argonne, left for the private sector in 1956, his most treasured experimental reactor, EBR-I (a breeder), melted down on a remote Idaho reservation. Zinn had forewarned the Atomic Energy Commission that this might happen, because he was running a final, risky test on it. Afterwards, analysis of debris helped establish an important breeder design principle, but before that happened, AEC apparently suggested his recovery efforts be filmed, presumably to illustrate the accident’s benign outcomes. Here is his blistering response, in a February 16, 1956, letter:
Your letter of February 13, 1956 suggests that a movie of the clean-up of EBR-I be shown. Please be informed that the clean-up of EBR-I will not be undertaken before the reactors hazards meeting and, in any case, is being done in a manner in which movies will not be taken.Zinn, Walter H. 1956. Zinn to Flaherty, Feb. 16, 1956. “Reading File, February 16, 1956,” Box 140, Laboratory Director’s Reading File, 1949-1957, RG 326. NARA-GL, Chicago, Illinois.
Quite why eternalization via film was suggested, or why Zinn so adamantly deterred this, is not fully clear to me.