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The Army Nuclear Power Program honeypot

Author Topic: The Army Nuclear Power Program  (Read 23619 times)

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Offline Smooth Operator

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The Army Nuclear Power Program
« on: Apr 16, 2011, 02:04 »
I heard bits and pieces about the Army running smaller/mobile nukes back in the 60s and 70s, and inevitably someone would mention SL-1 yada yada yada....meaning it always seemed someone was waiting in the wings to dismiss the entire program over SL-1.

But, I did some reading and it the original Army Nuclear Power Program still exists today without the "nuclear"...and it is under the auspices of the Army Corps of Engineers.

The history of the program and its academic rigor remind me of the Navy Nuclear Power Program and today, its power program, as described, still sounds like what Navy enlisted go through in A-School through Prototype without the nuclear component.

Here are a few links....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Army_Nuclear_Power_Program#Nuclear_power_plant_operator_training

http://www.usace.army.mil/PPS/Pages/Mission.aspx

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Army-Nuclear-Power-Program/110969702287503

https://market.android.com/details?id=book-jjdwo4fljmkC

This is pretty cool:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_Reactor_Operator_Badge





« Last Edit: Apr 16, 2011, 02:14 by Smooth Operator »

Cycoticpenguin

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Re: The Army Nuclear Power Program
« Reply #1 on: Apr 16, 2011, 07:19 »
I don't think dismissing the armys plan because of an over reactivity excursion resulting in the death of three operators was a trivial decision... and while the army engineers go through tough schooling, its not going to have the same focus as the navys nuclear power program... there's plenty of tough schools in the military, for example the defense language program is probably just as difficult as our programs...

Offline Protectologist

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Re: The Army Nuclear Power Program
« Reply #2 on: Apr 16, 2011, 08:03 »
The army successfully operated small nukes in remote locations in the 60's and 70's. I worked with an RO that worked at one of their plants while he was in the army back when I was still a newbie about 3 decades ago. Ask around! I'll bet there are more than a few out there with army nuke plant experience that have some stories to tell. And the SL-1 story known to most is incomplete. When you get into the details the implication is clear that the plant and the procedures were not the problem at SL-1. They tell me the details are still classified but I'll bet people in the know could share some info. So I can't dismiss the army nukes or their experience and certainly not based on an incident that occurred 55-60 years ago. The navy can tell a story or two also that would raise questions about their program but we don't talk about those so much.

Offline MacGyver

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Re: The Army Nuclear Power Program
« Reply #3 on: Apr 16, 2011, 09:08 »
The army successfully operated small nukes in remote locations in the 60's and 70's. I worked with an RO that worked at one of their plants while he was in the army back when I was still a newbie about 3 decades ago. Ask around! I'll bet there are more than a few out there with army nuke plant experience that have some stories to tell. And the SL-1 story known to most is incomplete. When you get into the details the implication is clear that the plant and the procedures were not the problem at SL-1. They tell me the details are still classified but I'll bet people in the know could share some info. So I can't dismiss the army nukes or their experience and certainly not based on an incident that occurred 55-60 years ago. The navy can tell a story or two also that would raise questions about their program but we don't talk about those so much.







::)

Cycoticpenguin

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Re: The Army Nuclear Power Program
« Reply #4 on: Apr 16, 2011, 09:12 »
Lol mac, what could possibly be discussed? Haha

Offline Drayer

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Re: The Army Nuclear Power Program
« Reply #5 on: Apr 16, 2011, 01:09 »
Two US Army operators and one US Navy operator died,...
It was a shared tragedy,...
It was hardly because one service branch is a better operator than another,...
The tale of Legg, Mckinley, and Byrnes was a shared tragedy but it did shine some light on the way the Army was conducting it's program in stark contrast to Rickover's. It also showed why we don't leave a few with troubled personal lives and a nub to do questionable maintenance practices without guidance from the appropraite level.

I understand the concept of small reactors up in remote portions of Alaska and the ice circle to power little Russian monitoring stations, but did they also manage to get the laser beam guns that those 80's movies showed so frequently?

Cycoticpenguin

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Re: The Army Nuclear Power Program
« Reply #6 on: Apr 16, 2011, 01:36 »
Two US Army operators and one US Navy operator died,...

It was a shared tragedy,...

It was hardly because one service branch is a better operator than another,...

Who said anything about operators? Drayer picked up my point.

Offline Marlin

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Re: The Army Nuclear Power Program
« Reply #7 on: Apr 16, 2011, 02:24 »
The tale of Legg, Mckinley, and Byrnes was a shared tragedy but it did shine some light on the way the Army was conducting it's program in stark contrast to Rickover's. It also showed why we don't leave a few with troubled personal lives and a nub to do questionable maintenance practices without guidance from the appropraite level.

SL-1 and it's relatives were intended to be portable small reactors trucked to remote areas for portable power intended to be operated just as SL-1 was operated in an isolated remote location. The services were not as seperated as they are today some of the instructors for SL-1 were Navy from just down the road at the S1W prototype. If you did your research you have noted that Legg was a Navy Electricians Mate.

Offline Drayer

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Re: The Army Nuclear Power Program
« Reply #8 on: Apr 16, 2011, 02:31 »
SL-1 and it's relatives were intended to be portable small reactors trucked to remote areas for portable power intended to be operated just as SL-1 was operated in an isolated remote location. The services were not as separated as they are today some of the instructors for SL-1 were Navy from just down the road at the S1W prototype. If you did your research you have noted that Legg was a Navy Electricians Mate.
I did and still do know that. I have read two books on the subject (not claiming to be an expert) and know that the Army had a few gaps in their program that the Navy did not. Legg was actually a seabee, the most common choice for the Army because they didn't want one of Rickover's men from the submarine force. Rivalry thing? The routine for a sailor at the time was different than for an Army nuke and this information is the basis for my point.

 Even if I didn't know that, it has already been stated in this thread and is completely besides my point.  :stupidme:

Offline Marlin

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Re: The Army Nuclear Power Program
« Reply #9 on: Apr 16, 2011, 02:54 »
I did and still do know that. I have read two books on the subject (not claiming to be an expert) and know that the Army had a few gaps in their program that the Navy did not. Legg was actually a seabee, the most common choice for the Army because they didn't want one of Rickover's men from the submarine force. Rivalry thing? The routine for a sailor at the time was different than for an Army nuke and this information is the basis for my point.

 Even if I didn't know that, it has already been stated in this thread and is completely besides my point.  :stupidme:

That all of the nuclear programs were closely linked at that time is not relavent? Rickover started here at Oak Ridge that was run by the Army at the time. That and a lot of my information comes from conversations with civilian instructors who participated in the immeadiate response to the accident.  :old:
« Last Edit: Apr 16, 2011, 02:55 by Marlin »

Offline Drayer

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Re: The Army Nuclear Power Program
« Reply #10 on: Apr 16, 2011, 03:04 »
Okay you guys win.
The Navy rocks the nuke world.
The Army is a bunch of half ass posers.
Feel better?


Not exactly where I was going with it, but I don't mind being interrupted with a little organizational pride to give a good harrumph!
« Last Edit: Apr 16, 2011, 03:08 by drayer54 »

Offline OldHP

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Re: The Army Nuclear Power Program
« Reply #11 on: Apr 16, 2011, 04:36 »
Who said anything about operators? Drayer picked up my point.

You did - check your earlier post!

I did and still do know that. I have read two books on the subject (not claiming to be an expert) and know that the Army had a few gaps in their program that the Navy did not. Legg was actually a seabee, the most common choice for the Army because they didn't want one of Rickover's men from the submarine force. Rivalry thing? The routine for a sailor at the time was different than for an Army nuke and this information is the basis for my point.
Even if I didn't know that, it has already been stated in this thread and is completely besides my point.  :stupidme:

And where you then - 1961?  Even with the two part film and the books there is still a lot of unreleased information!

I don't think dismissing the armys plan because of an over reactivity excursion resulting in the death of three operators was a trivial decision... and while the army engineers go through tough schooling, its not going to have the same focus as the navys nuclear power program... there's plenty of tough schools in the military, for example the defense language program is probably just as difficult as our programs...

Sun of a gun - Let me see SL-1 1961!  Shut down the Army program due to the incident - then why did the Sturges operate until it was no longer needed in 1977?

 [dowave]
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Offline Drayer

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Re: The Army Nuclear Power Program
« Reply #12 on: Apr 16, 2011, 06:02 »
And where you then - 1961?  Even with the two part film and the books there is still a lot of unreleased information!
I already covered this one!
I (not claiming to be an expert)

I acknowledge there is a ton of unreleased information. I read what I could on it because I found the pioneer/on the go decontamination efforts and resulting circus to be intriguing.
I also have a job that allowed me the time to do the research.

Offline Smooth Operator

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Re: The Army Nuclear Power Program
« Reply #13 on: Apr 17, 2011, 12:21 »
You did - check your earlier post!

And where you then - 1961?  Even with the two part film and the books there is still a lot of unreleased information!

Sun of a gun - Let me see SL-1 1961!  Shut down the Army program due to the incident - then why did the Sturges operate until it was no longer needed in 1977?

 [dowave]

What is also interesting is that the Reactor Operator Patch worn on the Army uniform wasn't retired until 1990.

Offline Smooth Operator

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Re: The Army Nuclear Power Program
« Reply #14 on: Apr 17, 2011, 12:42 »
I don't think dismissing the armys plan because of an over reactivity excursion resulting in the death of three operators was a trivial decision... and while the army engineers go through tough schooling, its not going to have the same focus as the navys nuclear power program... there's plenty of tough schools in the military, for example the defense language program is probably just as difficult as our programs...

Thanks for making my point. Most people don't know much about the Army program other than a little bit about SL-1 if that. There were brilliant minds at work at for the Army, just like the Navy.  If you look at some of the pictures of the Army prototypes, they share remarkable similarities to Navy systems and the mimic aids look just like stuff I use everyday.

You can't dismiss the Army program over SL-1, just like you can't dismiss the commericial nuclear program over TMI,  Davis-Besse, etc. Obviously the latter examples were different but my point is you recognize weaknesses and make the corrections and move forward.

Also, I don't understand your comment about tough schooling. What does DLI have to do with anything? Are you seriously trying to compare learning nuclear technology with learning a foreign language? Of course there are tough schools across the military, but I was not marginalizing any training program in my attempt to lend credit to the Army.

I am no nuclear history expert, but I am going to hazard a guess and say the Navy and commericial nuclear were influenced by the development and learnings of the Army.


 

Offline Marlin

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Re: The Army Nuclear Power Program
« Reply #15 on: Apr 17, 2011, 04:43 »
Sun of a gun - Let me see SL-1 1961!  Shut down the Army program due to the incident - then why did the Sturges operate until it was no longer needed in 1977?

Good point on Sturgis

http://atomicinsights.com/1996/08/first-nuclear-power-barge-pioneer-barge-built-america.html

Cycoticpenguin

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Re: The Army Nuclear Power Program
« Reply #16 on: Apr 23, 2011, 08:18 »
Thanks for making my point. Most people don't know much about the Army program other than a little bit about SL-1 if that. There were brilliant minds at work at for the Army, just like the Navy.  If you look at some of the pictures of the Army prototypes, they share remarkable similarities to Navy systems and the mimic aids look just like stuff I use everyday.

You can't dismiss the Army program over SL-1, just like you can't dismiss the commericial nuclear program over TMI,  Davis-Besse, etc. Obviously the latter examples were different but my point is you recognize weaknesses and make the corrections and move forward.

Im not saying the army didnt have brilliant people working for them. Id say that some upper crust didnt like the coin spent vs the benefit and im willing to bet (speculation of course) the accident at SL-1 played a huge part in them being shut down, regardless of when it happened. If we had another TMI type incident, they wouldnt just use the most recent event to shut it down, they'd bring up EVERYTHING from the initial TMI to the late OE's on our still running plants. The threshold is somewhere, but I hope we never find out what it is ;)



Also, I don't understand your comment about tough schooling. What does DLI have to do with anything? Are you seriously trying to compare learning nuclear technology with learning a foreign language? Of course there are tough schools across the military, but I was not marginalizing any training program in my attempt to lend credit to the Army.

This was my point actually. We can go over the "tough schools" all day, but they dont really compare to the nuclear programs for some very key reasons which we will not discuss at the moment.


I am no nuclear history expert, but I am going to hazard a guess and say the Navy and commericial nuclear were influenced by the development and learnings of the Army.

Well... yeah? thats how we make safer/better plants O.o 

Offline jams723

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Re: The Army Nuclear Power Program
« Reply #17 on: Apr 24, 2011, 10:34 »
Dang Charlie, do you ever go to class at RBS?  Seems like you are always on here. Laughs.

Cycoticpenguin

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Re: The Army Nuclear Power Program
« Reply #18 on: Apr 24, 2011, 10:38 »
Dang Charlie, do you ever go to class at RBS?  Seems like you are always on here. Laughs.

Mon-thurs :D I am on here quite a bit though, but its usually in tandem with other activities (stocks, youtubing, guitar stuff) :)

Offline jams723

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Re: The Army Nuclear Power Program
« Reply #19 on: Apr 24, 2011, 10:42 »
It is all good. I know your GM and probably will be at you station a time or two in project support.

Offline Protectologist

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Re: The Army Nuclear Power Program
« Reply #20 on: Apr 24, 2011, 10:55 »
Someone referred to a two part SL-1 film earlier. FYI it's a three part film. The third reel is more than a little interesting.

Cycoticpenguin

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Re: The Army Nuclear Power Program
« Reply #21 on: Apr 24, 2011, 04:47 »
Someone referred to a two part SL-1 film earlier. FYI it's a three part film. The third reel is more than a little interesting.

for some reason I keep reading your name as "Proctologist" which is not even close lol.



Any places online to see said video btw?

Offline Protectologist

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Re: The Army Nuclear Power Program
« Reply #22 on: Apr 25, 2011, 07:18 »
I worked with a man who often joked that RP stood for Radiation Protectology. I liked the reference

When I saw the third reel it was classified so it's probably not on line. Something the Navy used to include in our training.

Offline HouseDad

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Re: The Army Nuclear Power Program
« Reply #23 on: Apr 26, 2011, 06:01 »
Who said anything about operators? Drayer picked up my point.

Of course he did - you two are joined at the 'taint.....  [Flamer]
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Offline Hanford Tech

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Re: The Army Nuclear Power Program
« Reply #24 on: Apr 26, 2011, 07:13 »
I AM AN ARMY NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS OPERATOR.  I GRADUATED IN 1976.  I AM A RUSSIAN TRANSLATOR WHO GRADUATED IN 1971.  THE LAST NUCLEAR REACTOR FOR THE ARMY WAS THE STURGIS.  IT WAS A WWII LIBERTY SHIP WITH THE CENTER CUT OUT AND A NUCLEAR REACTOR IN IT'S PLACE.  IT MADE 20 MEGAWATTS OF POWER FOR THE PANAMA CANAL IN THE DRY SEASON.  THERE WAS A 60 MEGAWATT SOLAR GAS TURBINES ALSO. 

THE SL-1 WAS THE LAST REACTOR DESIGNED TO GO CRITICAL ON ONE CONTROL ROD.  THE ARMY ALSO HAD A REACTOR THAT WAS BUILT IN MODULES. IT WAS TAKEN TO GREENLAND SUNK INTO THE ICE.  OPERATED FOR SIX MONTHS AND THEN REMOVED.

 

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