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The following is a readers digest version of much longer history timelines.

79 AD First known use of uranium. Roman artisans produce yellow colored glass in mosaic mural near Naples.
1803 "Thou knowest no man can split the atom."--John Dalton
1824 Uranium described in Gmelin's Handbook. Much animal toxicity studies done thereafter.
1850 First commercial use of uranium in glass by Lloyd & Summerfield of Birmingham, England.
1860 Uranium is first used in homeopathic medicine for treatment of diabetes.
1895 Rutherford shows that "uranium emanation" has a spectral line of helium.
1905 Einstein publishes Theory of Relativity.
1920 Rutherford suggests additional neutral nuclear particle (later called a neutron). "Such an atom would have very novel properties. Its external field would be practically zero, except close to the nucleus, and, in consequence, it should be able to move freely through matter."
1929 "The energy available through the disintegration of radioactive or any other atoms may perhaps be sufficient to keep the corner peanut and popcorn man going in our large towns for a long time, but that is all." --Dr. Robert A. Millikan
1932 "There is not the slightest indication that nuclear energy will ever be obtainable. It would mean that the atom would have to be shattered at will." --Dr. Albert Einstein
1933 (Sept 12) "The energy produced by the atom is a very poor kind of thing. Anyone who expects a source of power from the transformation of these atoms is talking moonshine." --Lord Ernest Rutherford (after splitting the atom for the first time)
1934 Fermi mistaken reports new element after bombarding uranium with neutrons. Ida Noddack suggests Fermi split the atom; this is ignored.
1938 Hahn and Strassman split the atom repeating Fermi's work.
1939 (Jan 26) Fermi announces uranium releases a few neutrons on splitting. He speculates upon the possibility of a chain reaction.
1939 (April 29) First official conference on fission is held in Berlin Germany by the Reich Ministry of Education.
1939 (April) Uranverein ("uranium club") founded in Berlin to do work on uranium fission.
1939 (Aug 2) Einstein signs letter, drafted by Leo Szilard and Eugene Wigner, to Roosevelt alerting him to the feasibility of building an atomic bomb and the threat of Germany building one.
1939 Enrico Fermi patents first reactor (conceptual plans).
1941 (Sept 18) Werner Heisenberg meets with Neils Bohr to try to convince Bohr and the Western Allies that atomic bomb production is unfeasible and should be stopped. Bohr is unconvinced and suspects Heisenberg's, now working for the Nazis, motives.
1942 (Aug 25) Entire world's supply of plutonium spilled and recovered from soggy copy of Chicago Tribune (Met Lab).
1942 (Sept) The Manhattan Project is formed to secretly build the atomic bomb before the Germans.
1942 (Nov 16) Construction begins on Chicago Pile 1 (CP-1) begins.
1943 (Apr 1) The security gates begin operating at Oak Ridge, TN.
1943 (Apr) Ground broken for Hanford reactors, built to produce plutonium for Nagasaki bomb.
1943 Clinton reactor goes into operation at Oak Ridge.
1945 (July 16) Trinity Test (Alamagordo, NM) cattle receive beta burns. 19 KT yield. First atomic bomb.
1945 (Aug 6 & 9) Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombed.
1945 (Sept 5) The ZEEP reactor achieves first self-sustaining fission chain reaction in Canada.
1946 (Aug 1) Atomic Energy Act is passed prohibiting private or commercial use of atomic energy; establishes AEC and JCAE.
1949 (Mar 1) AEC announces the selection of a site in Idaho for the National Reactor Testing Station.
1951 (Dec 20) First electricity is generated from atomic power at EBR-1 Idaho National Engineering Lab, Idaho Falls.
1952 (Dec 12) Explosion and meltdown at NRX reactor Chalk River, Ontario, Canada. Future U.S. president Jimmy Carter, thru his involvement in the US Nuclear Submarine program, is one of the volunteer workers who participates in the cleanup, going in until he receives his Maximum Permissible Dose.
1954 (Jan 21) US Navy launches the first nuclear powered submarine, the U.S.S. Nautilus; capabilities include cruising 62,500 miles without refueling.
1954 (June) First electricity for transmission generated from nuclear power in USSR in a five megawatt power station.
1954 (Aug 30) Atomic Energy Act of 1954 passed permits private ownership of nuclear power.
1955 (Jan 10) AEC announces the Power Demonstration Reactor Program under which the AEC and industry would cooperate to build and operate reactors.
1955 (July) Arco, Idaho becomes the first U.S. town to be powered by nuclear energy.
1956 (Oct 17) First full-size nuclear power plant, Windscale, opened by Queen Elizabeth II (Britain).
1957 (July) The Sodium Reactor Experiment in Santa Susana, CA. generates the first power from a civilian nuclear reactor.
1957 (Dec 2) Shippingport, a PWR/LWBR, goes critical in Shippingport, PA.
1959 (Oct) Dresden-1 Nuclear Power Station in Illinois achieves a self-sustaining nuclear reaction. It is the first US nuclear powerplant built entirely without government funding.
1961 (Nov 25) US Navy commissions world's largest ship, the U.S.S. Enterprise, a nuclear powered aircraft carrier.
1965 (April 3) The first nuclear reactor in space, SNAP-10A, is launched.
1977 (April 7) US president Carter announces deferring indefinitely plans for reprocessing spent nuclear fuel and proposes terminating the Clinch River Breeder Reactor project.
1977 (Oct 1) Department of Energy (DOE) is created.
1979 (March 28) Three Mile Island (Middletown, Pa) suffers hydrogen explosions and meltdown completely destroying its core. Releases from the plant are not measurable since most off-site monitors are not working. Accident leads to safety reforms, emergency planning upgrades, and training requirements in the US.
1986 (April 26) Chernobyl 4 (Pripyat, USSR) explodes and burns, spreads contamination worldwide. Thirty one killed from heat and radiation exposure. Worldwide effects from internal contamination harder to measure.
1987 (Dec) Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act designates Yucca Mountain, Nevada, for scientific investigation as only candidate site for the US's first geological repository for high-level radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel.
1992 (Aug 24) Hurricane Andrew hits Turkey Point 3 nuclear power plant 20 miles south of Miami, Florida. Much damage to turbines but none to safety related systems despite wind gust of 170 mph.
1995 (Jan 5) Sen. J. Bennett Johnston (D-La) proposes a bill which places a temporary nuclear waste storehouse at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, while scientists continue the study of the site for a permanent repository.


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