1. Thankfully the right side in that conflict did it first. While it is unfortunate that the first practical application of this new technology was a weapon, it is unthinkable what the outcome would have been if the Axis powers had been the ones to deploy it.

  2. Note also on December 2nd, 1957 (at 4:30 in the morning): Shippingport reactor first went critical.

    Having attended more than a few initial criticalities of naval reactors … why do they always happen at oh-dark-thirty? NR got off to a good start with the Shippingport reactor and I guess decided to continue that tradition …

  3. For those with delicate religious sensibilities. Crit-mas is a play on words. It is as a good nuke can appreciate acronym. It comes from Critical-mass. My last boat, was refueled and wrote a song about low power physics testing called the 12 days of Critmas. I honestly can’t remember how it goes, but it was sarcastic and disparaging of having to be in shift work over the holidays.

    There is an old adage, “A happy nuke is a complaining nuke.” Saying the “Green” crew was ecstatic would be an understatement. NR has managed to continue the fine tradition of O’dark thirty startups and testing over the holidays since the inception of anthropogenic nuclear fission. It truly is “the most wonderful time of the year.”

  4. Testing gets done after all the management goes homes. Mistakes do not happen until about 6am. This will give management something to dither about it is time for them to go home. The other given is that after working 36 hours straight even the best become bumbling idiots.

  5. Excellent article, Rod. Articles as this long to belong in newspapers and TV news headlining this date, but they’d assume just remark on who high scored rugby or golf on some forgotten year on Dec 2nd! They sure don’t let us forget that the “birth” of the nuclear age was as an explosion out in the desert. I guess a pile doing the same job much more quietly is too damn lame and benign for the AP and rest of the media.

    >> “The CP-1 team was full of people who were really excited about the prospects of introducing a new source of power. Sadly, their timing was a little off and wartime thinking turned their amazing tool into a weapon before they had a chance to prove it as a useful, controlled power source.”

    Likewise, people forget that long before his “shotgun marriage” with the Nazis, Warner Von Braun’s sole dream was sending rockets to the Moon and Mars, NOT sailing into English cities. I can’t condemn one altering their dreams with a gun at their head, so I wish his critics all the way to NASA cut him some slack — a lot of it.

    James Greenidge
    Queens NY

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