How would a Rockefeller crony react to Eddington’s vision of subatomic energy?

Recently an Atomic Insights reader shared a document that inspired a new line of thinking about the chronology of atomic energy development. The inspirational document was a PDF copy of a chapter titled Little Red Schoolhouse from Freeman Dyson‘s memoir, Disturbing the Universe. It was a brief tale about a memorable burst of creativity in…

Licensing demonstration reactors in the United States

During the joint DOE-NRC workshop on advanced non-light water reactors held last week (Sep 1-2, 2015), John Adams of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation gave a presentation on reactor license classification terminology. It made me squirm in my chair with the desire to interrupt. Probably because he has read and…

Sad-ending story of EBR-II told by three of its pioneers

During the period between 1961 and 1994, an extraordinary machine called the Experimental Breeder Reactor 2 (EBR-II) was created and operated in the high desert of Idaho by a team of dedicated, determined, and distinguished people. In 1986, that machine demonstrated that it could protect itself in the event of a complete loss of flow…

Nova’s “Uranium – Twisting the Dragon’s Tail”

On July 29, 2015, a week before the August 6 commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, PBS (Public Broadcast System in the US) aired a documentary titled Uranium – Twisting the Dragon’s Tail. Unlike many efforts on similar topics, this one is worth watching. More importantly, it is worth recommending…

FOE continues promoting fossil fuel by trying to force Diablo Canyon closure

As a literature major during my undergraduate years, I was fascinated by the variety of stories that can be told about the same topic depending on the author’s selected point of view. Here is a brief example. Friends of the Earth (FOE) has a page on its web site titled Shutting down Diablo Canyon. The…

Romance of Radium – How did our relationship with radioactive material sour?

Romance of Radium – How did our relationship with radioactive material sour?

Note – This post was initially published on February 23, 2013. After attending the ANS President’s Special Session about the way we should communicate about radiation, I thought it would be worth repeating. Sometimes, we need to look outside of our immediate time and place to find “best practices” that we should emulate. Hitting road…

Atomic Insights is 20 years old today

On April 1, 1995, I published the fist issue of a paper newsletter initially titled Atomic Energy Insights. For old times sake, here is a reprint of the introduction to the newsletter that was included in that issue. Please join me in a quiet celebration and raise a cup of coffee as a toast. Here’s…

Lewis Strauss was no fan of useful atomic energy

Every once in a while, I feel the need to share some of the historical research I’m conducting. This serves multiple purposes; it provides me with an easily searchable log of interesting tidbits and it enables me to continue working on my mission of sharing as much information as I can find about atomic energy…

Atomic Show #235 – Energy and Empire by George Gonzales

Atomic Show #235 – Energy and Empire by George Gonzales

Dr. George Gonzales is an associate professor of political science at the University of Miami. In 2012, he published a book titled Energy and Empire: The Politics of Nuclear and Solar Power in the United States. In his book, Professor Gonzales recognizes that the development of nuclear energy poses an obvious threat to the continued…

Atomic Show #232 – Against the Tide by RADM Dave Oliver

Though it has been more than 30 years since Admiral Rickover finally retired from his position as the head of Naval Reactors, his legacy lives on in the people he directly trained and in the people that those initial Navy nukes trained and led. A new book titled Against the Tide: Rickover’s Leadership Principles and…