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Naval Reactors (1)
Rickover, Hyman G.[X]
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1Title:  Review of naval reactor program and Admiral Rickover award Add
 Summary:  This document is the unclassified record of two Joint Committee on Atomic Energy hearings from April 1959. At the second hearing, Vice Admiral Hyman Rickover, who led the Naval Reactors program, was presented with a congressional gold medal in recognition of his efforts, which included the successful application of nuclear power to submarines and Naval Reactors support for the first nuclear power plant designed for civilian purposes. A significant portion of the hearing addresses reactor safety and radiological controls issues. The joint Atomic Energy Commission and Navy responsibilities in the Naval Reactors program is nicely described by Rickover during a discussion on reactor safety: "Before the Nautilus reactor was started we drew up an agreement between the AEC and the Department of Defense which recognized that each agency had a responsibility where the safeguards aspect of naval reactors was concerned....This agreement, and the memorandums of understanding between the AEC and the Navy which followed it, provided that the AEC would present the design of the reactor plant to the Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards for a safety review and that the results of this review would be forwarded by the AEC to the Navy for their guidance. The reactor plant would then become the responsibility of the Navy, except that the Navy was obligated to make available to the AEC all pertinent information and data concerning operation, including safety standards and operational experiences" (5). The first April 1959 hearing was held on board the USS Skipjack, a newly-commissioned nuclear submarine, and both Rickover and Captain Eugene Wilkinson (the first captain of the USS Nautilus) describe the improvements between the Nautilus, which was commissioned in 1954, and the Skipjack, including improved speed and underwater performance, a shift to a single propeller for propulsion, and easing access to machinery for maintenance. Rickover describes the program's rapid growth, following the successful operation of the S1W plant, the Nautilus, and the Shippingport Atomic Power Station. At this point in 1959, "Congress has authorized a total of 33 nuclear-powered submarines. Of the 33, 5 are presently in operation and the others are either under construction or shortly will be under construction....Congress has also authorized a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier...a nuclear-powered guided missile cruiser and a nuclear-powered fleet destroyer" (29-30). 
 Date:   1959 
 Subject(s):  Rickover, Hyman G. | Naval Reactors 
 Type:  Text 
 Format:  PDF 
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