3 results for month: 09/2008


Milton Shaw: And the decline of the American Nuclear Establishment

(Guest post by Charles Barton) Shortly before Alvin Weinberg’s 80th birthday, Bill Cabbage and Carolyn Krause, journalists associated with ORNL, interviewed him. During the interview Weinberg was asked to comment on Milton Shaw. Weinberg responded, “Milton Shaw had a singleness of purpose. In many ways I admired him, and in many ways he drove me nutty. He had a single-minded commitment to do what he was told to do, which was to get the Clinch River Breeder Reactor built. My views were different from his. I think the Commission decided that my views were out of touch with the way the nuclear industry was actually going.” Milton Shaw was ...

A Brief History of the Fluid Fuel Reactor: The Molten Salt Reactor Adventure Begins

(guest post by Charles Barton) Eugene Wigner spent a brief period as Research Director of what was then called the Clinton Laboratories. Oak Ride was in 1943 a town that did not exist, so the Laboratory could not be named for it. Instead the assigned name that of Clinton, the old East Tennessee town that was the county seat of Anderson County, where most of the Oak Ridge complex was located. Wigner's stay was not a happy one for him, but is was exceedingly fruitful for the Laboratory. Wigner brought with him a team of brilliant scientists, and attracted more first rate researchers to Oak Ridge. Frederick Seitz, Erich Vogt, and Alvin Weinberg ...

A Brief History of the Fluid Fuel Reactor: The Aqueous Homogeneous Reacto

(guest post by Charles Barton) The history of the nuclear reactor usually begins with the first successful operation of Enrico Fermi’s Stagg Field reactor on December 2, 1942. In fact, scientists working at the Cavendish Laboratory at Cambridge, England built the first successful reactor in 1940. British scientists mixed 112 liters of heavy water with U308 powder inside an aluminum sphere that was 60 cm (2 feet) in diameter. The mixture was mud like and was called slurry. The aluminum sphere was immersed in a bath of heavy mineral oil to serve as a neutron reflector. The British researchers had already found that although a chain reaction was ...