Thursday, June 4, 2015

Nuclear Anniversaries--June:

Getting Ahead of Schedule

I am making up for my lapse on reporting on nuclear milestones for May by getting a jump on the month of June and reporting the milestones for June early.

The month of June saw relatively few milestones, but the milestones that did occur perhaps one of the most significant nuclear milestones--the first supply of nuclear-generated electricity to the grid. 

Here are the highlights:

June 4, 1962:  First heavy-water moderated reactor to produce electricity for the grid (NPD, Rolphton, Canada)

June 27, 1954:  First reactor in the world to supply electricity to the grid (AM-2, Obninsk, USSR)

June 29, 1959:  First boiling heavy water reactor; and first international project to begin operation (Halden Reactor Project, Halden, Norway)

The month also saw significant activity on space nuclear reactor efforts, including the first downward firing test of an engine in a simulated space vacuum (XE-Prime, on June 11, 1969, in the US) and, while not a first, the development and operation of the most powerful reactor ever built (Phoebus-2A, June 26, 1968, with more than 4000-MWth maximum power, also in the US).

[Once again, these events are covered in greater detail in my book:  Nuclear Firsts:  Milestones on the Road to Nuclear Power Development.]


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