Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Nuclear Anniversaries--October:

More Nuclear Developments

This blog will finally end my catch-up activities to outline the significant milestones in nuclear power development that occurred in each month of the calendar year.  These were intended to be published in the month being discussed, but unfortunately, I fell behind, for which I apologize.  Now, if I just manage to publish one on November's events before the month is out, I will be up to date!

Let's get right down to it.  Major developments in the history of nuclear power during the month of October include:

Oct. 2, 1968:  First reactor to use U-233 as fuel (MSRE, Oak Ridge, TN)

Oct. 3, 1960:  First portable, modular reactor (PM-2A, Greenland/a US project)

Oct. 4, 1957:  First use of the centrifuge process to enrich uranium (Sverdlovsk-44, Sverdlovsk, USSR)

Oct. 10, 1962:  First use of nuclear power in a country not involved in nuclear weapons development; and first PWR in Europe (BR3, Mol, Belgium)

Oct. 11, 1954:  First professional society focused on nuclear technology (ANS, Oak Ridge, TN)

Oct. 12, 1943:  First plutonium extracted from a chain reaction (Seaborg Laboratory, CA)

Oct. 18, 1945:  First government agency to oversee civilian nuclear power (French CEA, Paris, France)

Oct. 19, 1957:  First privately owned and operated reactor connected to the grid; first license for a power reactor (VBWR, Pleasanton, CA)

October also saw the occurrence of two significant nuclear reactor accidents:  the accident at Windscale Pile 1, Sellafield, UK on Oct. 10, 1957, which was the first severe early reactor accident yielding contamination; and the accident at Fermi 1, Monroe, MI in Oct. 1966, which was the first full-scale reactor to experience a fuel-melt accident.

Further details on all these events and others are outlined in my book, "Nuclear Firsts:  Milestones on the Road to Nuclear Power Development." 



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