Friday, November 20, 2015

Nuclear Anniversaries--November

More Milestones

With this blog on key nuclear power "firsts" that occurred during the month of November, I have finally caught up with my monthly reports on milestones in nuclear power development in each calendar month, so without further ado, here are some of the most noteworthy events in nuclear history that happened in November of various years:

Nov. 3, 1954:  First reactor to demonstrate molten salt as a fuel (ARE, Oak Ridge, TN)

Nov. 4, 1943:  First reactor to operate above the zero power level; first reactor built for continuous operation (X-10 graphite reactor, Oak Ridge, TN)

Nov. 4, 1954:  First large-scale reprocessing using the PUREX process (F-Canyon, Savannah River, SC)

Nov. 23, 1963:  First on-line refueling for a reactor connected to the grid (NPD, Rolphton, Canada)

Nov. 25, 1961:  First nuclear-powered aircraft carrier (USS Enterprise, US)

I should note that the first on-line refueling (not connected to the grid) was at the NRU reactor at Chalk River, Canada.  This reactor started up on Nov. 3, 1957, but I do not have an exact date for the first refueling.

While this looks like a somewhat skimpy list for the month, there were several important events this month for which I have been unable to find an exact date.  These include two events in Nov. 1963 and one in Nov. 1968:  the Piqua OMR in Piqua, OH was the first organically moderated and cooled power reactor to start operation (Nov. 1963); the BR3 in Mol, Belgium was the first LWR to operate using mixed-oxide fuel (also in Nov. 1963, and the first demonstration of the THOREX process for thorium extraction occurred at the West Valley Reprocessing Facility, Ashford, NY in Nov. 1968.

Readers with outstanding memories may recall that I actually started this project in December, so this blog reflects the twelfth and last in the series.  As I wrap up this year-long project, I realize there are a number of loose threads.  There are probably a couple of dozen events for which I have found only a year, not an exact date.  A number of these are institutional--the start-up of academic programs (various degree levels, etc.) or professional society initiatives--and perhaps it is hard to determine what constitutes the start of the activity.  Several events occurred in the USSR during the Cold War, so perhaps little information was ever available in the West.  In some cases, I'm not sure why the record is not clearer on the exact date of an event.

However, the bottom line is that these events did not "fit" in any month, so are not covered by this series, although they are profiled in my book, "Nuclear Firsts:  Milestones on the Road to Nuclear Power Development."  The book also contains more information on events that are identified in this blog, as well as in the previous blogs in this series.  Since publication of the book, I have found a few additional dates and other information, so there are one or two things reflected in some of these monthly reports that are not in the book.  For example, I previously did not have a date for the first on-line refueling for a reactor connected to the grid.

The new information will be included in an e-book version of the book, which should be completed and available soon.  The e-book will contain some updates, including a discussion of Fukushima and its impacts, profiles of several firsts that I identified after the print book was published, and some minor additions such as the dates I didn't have before.  When the e-book is available, I will publish some information on how to obtain it. 


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