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Nuclear Power Goes On-Line

Overview

On May 26, 1958, the Shippingport, Pennsylvania, nuclear power station ushered in the age of the peaceful atom when it became the first nuclear power plant to go on-line. Throughout its more than three decades of operation, Shippingport encountered many of the crucial problems and issues that still confront nuclear power: policy formation, the role of government in technological innovation, technological management, environmental issues, breeder reactors, and the decommissioning of a nuclear plant. In an ...

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Overview

On May 26, 1958, the Shippingport, Pennsylvania, nuclear power station ushered in the age of the peaceful atom when it became the first nuclear power plant to go on-line. Throughout its more than three decades of operation, Shippingport encountered many of the crucial problems and issues that still confront nuclear power: policy formation, the role of government in technological innovation, technological management, environmental issues, breeder reactors, and the decommissioning of a nuclear plant. In an objective and nonprejudiced way, this book provides an accurate account of the important events in Shippingport's history and the role that they played in the future course of nuclear power.

Unlike other general treatments of nuclear power, this volume presents a specific case history of one plant, with the major issues that influenced nuclear power analyzed in the context of both Shippingport and the nuclear industry as a whole. It draws on technical reports filed with the government, Congressional testimony by project head Hyman Rickover, interviews with participants in the Shippingport project, and relevant secondary sources to detail the history of one of the few successful government attempts to innovate energy technologies following World War II. The chapters trace the story of Shippingport from its beginnings, through construction, training, and management, to its final decommissioning. Other issues and influences, such as the AEC's reactor development policy and the plant's role in the adoption of the light water reactor, are also addressed. The book concludes with a general bibliography. This important new work will be a valuable resource for courses in the history of technology, public policy, technology and society, and technological management. It will also be an important addition to college, university, and public libraries.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Provides a balanced and fairly detailed history of the development, operation and ultimate decommissioning (1985) of the first nuclear power plant to go on-line (Shippingport, Pennsylvania, 1958). It's a story dominated by the personality of Hyman Rickover, and has important general things to teach us concerning the politics of high technology. The Shippingport reactor "worked like a top" and achieved also some unintended results; it contributed to our heightened awareness of the public health implications of nuclear power generation, and it provided concrete indication of how very difficult it is to deconstruct such an installation. (NW) Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

Meet the Author

WILLIAM BEAVER is an Assistant Professor at Robert Morris College in Pennsylvania, where he specializes in technology and organizational behavior.

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Table of Contents

Introduction

Shippingport: The Beginnings

Construction, Training, Technology

Managing the Technology

Operating the Plant: The Light Water Years: 1957-74

Outcomes: The Light Water Years

Duquesne Light: Such Great Beginnings

The Sternglass Affair

Shippingport and the AEC's Reactor Development Policy

The Light Water Breeder Reactor

Decommissioning

Conclusion

Selected Bibliography

Index

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