Thursday, February 12, 2015

Nuclear Anniversaries--February:

Continuing the Story

A couple of months ago, I promised to provide a monthly list of nuclear anniversaries, drawing mainly from my book, Nuclear Firsts:  Milestones on the Road to Nuclear Power Development.

When I looked at the list for February, I almost had second thoughts.  It's not that the firsts in February were any less worthy than those in other months.  It's just that there are fewer of them.  In the end, I decided not to shortchange some significant firsts just because I only have a short story to tell this month. 
  • February 1950:  First zero-power light water reactor in the world (LITR, Oak Ridge)

  • February 8, 1961:  First reactor on the African continent (ETRR-1, a research reactor in Egypt)
  • February 8, 1963:  First time food irradiation was approved in the United States (Co60 to irradiate bacon)
Of these, only the first is a "true" first, in that it was the first time anywhere.  The other two firsts are firsts for a region or a country.  In fact, the U.S. was the third country to approve food irradiation, after the USSR and Canada.

LITR, which stands for Low-Intensity Test Reactor, was the first reactor to use light water for both moderating and cooling the reactor.  In this sense, it was a very early forerunner of the light water reactors that followed, even though it used a heterogeneous design that was very different than the pressurized water reactors or boiling water reactors operating today.  It was also one of several light water research reactor facilities that started up the same year.  The others were the Zero Power Reactor (ZPR-1) at Argonne and the Bulk Shielding Reactor (BSR) at Oak Ridge.  

For convenience, my past monthly blogs on anniversaries were:

December 2014 anniversaries
January 2015 anniversaries


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