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 great deal of information, but this morning I happened across a treasure trove of documents that answer almost any question one might think of asking about the program. The key was finding a reference to a unique program acronym.
The seven documents are a sampling of Army Gas Cooled Reactor Systems Program (AGCRSP) quarterly progress reports with dates ranging from January 1960 – January 1966. They are available as excellent quality scanned PDFs from the University of North Texas digital library. Each document includes a good bibliography that might provide useful search terms to locate even more detailed information.
One of the more useful parts of the treasure trove was an appendix in the final report in the series titled ML-1 Plant Characteristics. It provides ten pages worth of tabulated information about pressures, temperatures, burn-up, dose rates, weights, dimensions, consumables, auxiliary power requirements, neutron flux and many other details for the technically minded.
The UNT digital library also includes a copy of the ML-1 Design Report, a must read document for all who are intensely interested in this subject.
One of the more intriguing aspects about the document library was seeing the General Tire logo on each of the cover pages. Who knew?
Now I’m on the hunt for a preliminary feasibility study for the ML-2 that was mentioned in the progress reports.
I’m also starting the search for the record of decision that resulted in AGCRSP defunding and cancellation at the end of October 1965. The case is very cold, since the final act happened almost exactly 50 years ago, but it will be interesting to see if it’s possible to determine who killed the promising program.