Atomic Show #266 – Seeing the Light about atomic energy potential

Facing the immense threat of climate change, the need to power several billion more people and the continuing reluctance to use the most powerful tool available, Scott L. Montgomery and Thomas Graham Jr. realized that there was an information and perception gap about nuclear energy of roughly equivalent magnitudes. Their desire to help fill the…

Documentary evidence that fossil fuel industry knew–by 1948–that it faced prospect that atomic energy would make it obsolete

No industry cheerfully accepts the prospect that a newly developed technology could make it obsolete. Executives and investors earn much of their wealth by constantly evaluating potential threats to their business. They invest time, energy and resources in conceiving and implementing response or prevention plans. “Inside the Atom” is a 1948 vintage snapshot of the…

Myth Buster: Atomic energy excitement actually pre-dates atomic bomb efforts

There are incredible archives available to us within a few keystrokes. The following article from the October 22, 1939 edition of the New York Times might be useful to dispel the myth that interest in using atomic energy to replace coal came from a desire to domesticate the atomic bomb. This is a transcript that…

History and promise of high temperature gas cooled reactors

By: Diarmuid Foley A small modular nuclear reactor to replace coal plants could be on the market within 5 years. In 2014, the Generation IV international forum[1] confirmed the Very High Temperature Reactor (VHTR) as one of 6 promising reactor technologies that should be pursued in order to develop advanced reactors suitable for deployment in…

Congressmen Wanted to Control Gasoline (Parable about atomic power)

On April 17, 1958 the Brownsville (TX) Herald published an editorial titled “Congressmen Wanted to Control Gasoline.” It was aimed at actions by the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy and the Atomic Energy Commission to maintain nearly total control of all aspects of atomic power generation. As described by Snopes, excerpts from this ancient editorial…

Atomic Show #249 – All-Electric America by Freeman and Parks

S. David Freeman and Leah Y Parks have published a book titled All-Electric America: A Climate Solution and the Hopeful Future. There are a number of visionary sections of the book that appeal to me. However, I was not surprised to find out that the book takes a strong position in opposition to nuclear energy….

Innovative closed cycle gas cooled reactor – circa April 1956

I came across an advertisement in the April 1956 issue of Scientific American that I simply had to share. Does anyone recognize the basic concept described by the Ford Instrument Company (a division of Sperry Rand Corporation) almost exactly 60 years ago?

The First Atomic Age: A Failure of Socialism

The First Atomic Age: A Failure of Socialism

As atomic innovation and entrepreneurialism gains momentum, I thought it would be a good time to revisit an article that I wrote more than 21 years ago. It was first published in the January 1, 1995 issue of The Freeman: Ideas on Liberty. The first Atomic Age began with high hopes, but it has languished,…

Treasure trove of documents about the ML-1, the US Army’s trailer-mounted, nitrogen-cooled, atomic fission-heated generator

I recently published an article featuring a video from the Army Nuclear Power Program that focused on the Army’s mobile, low power closed cycle nitrogen cooled nuclear reactor designated the ML-1. The article generated a good discussion that indicated a strong desire for more information about the program. My initial searches didn’t turn up a…

Why did Richard Nixon so strongly endorse nuclear energy in April 1973?

Why did Richard Nixon so strongly endorse nuclear energy in April 1973?

On April 18, 1973, President Richard Nixon gave a special message to the congress of the United States on energy policy. Unlike more recent offerings by presidents regarding energy, that document placed a huge emphasis on making regulatory and legislative changes that would enable the rapid expansion of nuclear power; the ‘N’ word appears in…