On January 3, 1961, nuclear reactor SL 1 exploded in rural Idaho, spreading radioactive contamination over thousands of acres and killing three men The army blamed human error and a sordid love triangle Though overshadowed by Three Mile Island, SL 1 remains the only fatal nuclear reactor incident in American history Todd Tucker, who first heard the rumors about thOn January 3, 1961, nuclear reactor SL 1 exploded in rural Idaho, spreading radioactive contamination over thousands of acres and killing three men The army blamed human error and a sordid love triangle Though overshadowed by Three Mile Island, SL 1 remains the only fatal nuclear reactor incident in American history Todd Tucker, who first heard the rumors about the Idaho Falls explosion as a trainee in the navy s nuclear program, suspected there was to the accident than rumors suggested Poring over hundreds of pages of primary sources and interviewing survivors revealed that the army and its contractors had deliberately obscured the true cause of the accident, which resulted from poor engineering as much as uncontrolled passions The National Reactor Testing Station, where the meltdown occurred, had been a proving ground where engineers, generals, and admirals attempted to realize the Atomic Age dream of unlimited power amid the frantic race for nuclear power between the army, the navy, and the air force The fruit of those ambitious plans included that of the nation s unofficial nuclear patriarch, Admiral Rickover, whose true submarine, the USS Nautilus, would forever change naval warfare But with the meltdown in Idaho came the end of the army s program and the beginning of the navy s long standing monopoly on military nuclear power Atomic America provides a fast paced narrative history, advocating caution and accountability in harnessing nuclear energy.
Atomic America How a Deadly Explosion and a Feared Admiral Changed the Course of Nuclear History On January nuclear reactor SL exploded in rural Idaho spreading radioactive contamination over thousands of acres and killing three men The army blamed human error and a sordid love triang
Fun fast read about the history of atomic energy in the US military, with particular the Idaho Falls SL 1 reactor explosion in 1961 which I d never heard of before and Father Of The Nuclear Navy Admiral Hyman Rickover.At less than 300 pages this is certainly introductory reading only, but informative and enjoyable The author does seem a bit of a Rickover apologist, but since he s an ex Navy nuke that is to be expected.It s a little surprising some of the careless behavior toward nuclear energy i [...]
This thoroughly researched examination of a fatal nuclear power accident in Idaho in 1961 is graphic and gruesome in its details It also covers some wild ideas proposed for nuclear power Project Plowshare, a project to build a harbor for oil tankers in northern Alaska by blasting the ocean with 5 simultaneous nuclear explosions It cost 770 million in research for the government to decide not to pursue the idea And an atomic powered bomber The research on that one before JFK pulled the plug short [...]
Caught between 3 and 4 stars, I bumped it up to 4 because of the author s clean prose and engaging writing style It s pretty clear that as a former Navy nuke, he s a fan of the titular Admiral Rickover, but isn t shy about pointing the admiral s personal faults as well as his drive and devotion to the nuclear service The tale that Tucker tells is often gruesome and disturbing especially when it comes to the abysmal safety conditions and lack of experience that much of the US military tolerated i [...]
This is a fast read, both from a light touch on the material and the well written chapters I wanted a bit about how the SL 1 really changed the view on atomic power within the military This is essentially a story about the SL 1 accident, with Admiral Rickover woven through, along with mentions of failed Air Force projects and the desert of Idaho The SL 1 portions were fascinating in themselves, as the author shows that the Army conducted itself in an unsafe fashion when it came to nuclear power [...]
This book tells the story of the SL 1 accident with that of famed Navy Admiral Hyman Rickover Based on the book summary, you would think the main focus of the book would be SL 1, but a good deal of the book was spent discussing Rickover I didn t know much about him before reading this book, except for his moniker as the Father of the Nuclear Navy This book did a great job of showing just how complex a character he really was But I really read the book to find out how the SL 1 accident is treated [...]
A really interesting look at the origins of Rickover s nuclear Navy and the efforts of the other military branches to hone in on the technology.I thought the author was almost writing two different books here one on the Idaho Falls nuclear accident and one on Rickover s Navy, but he deftly wove the two stories together by the end of the book Tucker maintains that our current civilian nuclear safety standards are very much a result of Rickover s intense safety requirements It is also quite obviou [...]
Using as a framing device the only accident in the US involving an atomic reactor which resulted in outright fatalities, this is a breezy non technical read which also includes a vivid portrait of the seemingly hell driven Admiral Hyman Rickover, an account of the USAF s quixotic and ultimately futile attempt to develop atomic jet engines and the story of Camp Century, the US Army s nuclear powered city buried in a Greenland glacier Take one badly designed reactor for the Army, three poorly trai [...]
Excellent history of the early days of nuclear energy in the US with particular focus on the army, navy and air force programs In particular the author an ex nuclear submariner describes and explains the accident at SL 1 at the National Reactor Testing Station in Idaho, which killed 3 workers in 1961 Also well covered is the amazingly successful and safe navy nuclear program, lead by Hyman Rickover I m not sure what the author s purpose is, but at the very least he provides a balanced view of th [...]
Really interesting book about the early days of nuclear power, particularly as the military used it It revolves around the SL1 reactor in rural Idaho operated by the Army and an accident in 1960 that killed three people But it also goes into Admiral Rickover s long career and development of nuclear powered submarines.It s crazy pro nuclear at the end, which I find really puzzling in light of the rest of the book, but it s a great history lesson in any event I long ago drew a different conclusion [...]
Superb, quick history of the SL 1 accident this book puts to rest with authority the many rumors of what happened in the Idaho desert in 1961 It would be interesting to hear what Tucker thinks now that the Japanese tsunami destroyed the Fukishima Daiichi nuclear power station and the resulting widespread release of radioactive contamination.
Really enjoyed this A great overview of the nuclear program and post WWII US military history, and full of facts I never knew Used the SL1 meltdown as a jumping off point to provide the background and context while thoroughly covering the meltdown itself.
Not the best written or edited book, but this is an interesting read This is especially interesting if you have some knowledge of cold war politics and military history.
Excellent recounting of a tale people need to know about and understand.
A very interesting collection of facts relating to military and civilian uses of nuclear power I was not aware of much of the contents of this book.
Sparked my interest in nuclear energy
The explosion of nuclear reactor SL 1 at the Nuclear Reactor Testing Station in Idaho in 1961 provides the backbone of this interesting book one I picked up for 2 at the Hood County Library sale in Granbury The story of the reactor accident and its aftermath shows how engineers and medical personnel devised ways to respond to the challenges of cleanup, including how to decontaminate the extremely radioactive bodies of the three casualties so they could have something approaching a normal burial [...]