Another Busy Month
First, an apology to my readers: I had planned to publish one blog per month listing the milestones in nuclear history profiled in my book, "Nuclear Firsts: Milestones on the Road to Nuclear Power Development," (also available at the ANS bookstore) but I have fallen seriously behind.
As you can see from the title of this blog, I have not published the milestones for the past 3 months. I actually have been busy with activities relating to the book book--specifically, updating it and turning it into an e-book--but I still should not have let this slip through the cracks. Starting now, and over the next few weeks, I will try to catch up on the months I missed.
So, a bit belatedly, here are the historical events in nuclear power development that took place during the month of August:
Aug. 1, 1946: First agency in the US to oversee civilian nuclear power (USAEC, Washington, DC)
Aug. 2, 1946: First reactor to produce isotopes for peaceful use (X-10 Graphite Reactor, Oak Ridge, TN)
Aug. 4, 1956: First research reactor to operate in Asia (Apsara, India)
Aug. 5, 1966: First full-scale liquid metal breeder power reactor (Fermi 1, Monroe, MI) (Fermi 1 later became the first "large" reactor in the US to have a core meltdown.)
Aug. 14, 1964: First demonstration of direct thermoelectric conversion from a reactor (Romaschka Reactor, USSR)
Aug. 15, 1947: First reactor to operate in Western Europe (GLEEP, Harwell, UK)
Aug. 17, 1977: First surface ship to reach the North Pole (Arktika, USSR)
Aug. 26, 1977: First light water breeder reactor in commercial operation (Shippingport Reactor, Shippingport, PA)
Aug. 27, 1956: First "full-scale" reactor to provide electricity and process heat to the grid; first Magnox reactor (gas-cooled) (Calder Hall 1, Sellafield, UK)
The month of August also saw the occurrence of the first fatal criticality accident (the Experimental Assembly at Los Alamos National Laboratory, NM, on August 21, 1945).
Once again, there were several firsts for which I have no specific dates. These are the start of the first known nuclear training program (Clinton Training School, Oak Ridge, TN) in Aug. 1946; the first reactor with a fast-neutron spectrum, and also the first liquid-metal cooled reactor (mercury) and the first plutonium-fueled reactor (Clementine, Los Alamos, NM), also in Aug. 1946; and the first in-place reactor vessel annealing (SM-1A, Ft. Greely, AK). SM-1A was also the first reactor to have its steam generator replaced.