Thursday, April 9, 2015

Nuclear Anniversaries--April:

Another Exceptional Month

In this blog, I continue the series I started late last year of highlighting important events in the history of nuclear power that occurred in the month of April.  These same events are covered chronologically in my book, Nuclear Firsts:  Milestones on the Road to Nuclear Power Development

April 3, 1965:  First spacecraft powered by a nuclear reactor (SNAP-10, U.S.)

April 4, 1984:  First power reactor on the African continent (Koeberg, South Africa)

April 9, 2009:  First operation of a nuclear reactor under a renewed operating license (Oyster Creek, New Jersey)

April 10, 1953:  Establishment of first industry association for nuclear technology (Atomic Industrial Forum, Washington, DC)

April 15, 1957:  First reactor to supply electricity off-site.  Also the first pressurized water reactor brought on-line, the first nuclear power plant containment structure, and teh first use of stainless steel cladding (SM-1, Fort Belvoir, Virginia)

April 15, 1960:  First privately financed "full-scale" reactor to operate (Dresden 1, Morris, Illinois)

April 22, 1966:  First commercial, purpose-built facility for reprocessing civilian nuclear fuel (West Valley Reprocessing Facility, Ashford, New York)

April 22, 1986:  First geologic repository to receive a license for long-term storage of radioactive waste (Morsleben Repository for Radioactive Waste, Germany)

Sadly, the last event of the month is the April 26, 1986 accident at Chernobyl in what was then the Soviet Union (now Ukraine), which was the first accident at a large power reactor with offsite effects, immediate and delayed deaths, and environmental contamination.

Once again, the list is impressive for its breadth--from underground to outer space, from nuclear plants in their infancy to their "mature years," and more.  And two events on April 15--something to think about as you work on those income tax returns!


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