b'P ROVING THE P RINCIPLEGE built a huge laboratory for the pro- tists began traveling to Idaho Falls, provided its own food service, suppliedject in Evendale, Ohio, where it sometimes on a C-54 aircraft officially its own security force, and built its owndesigned the reactor and the experi- called Site Flight and unofficially, fabrication shops and health physicsments that would run in the remoteness Slite Fright. 9 l a b s . 1 0of Idaho. A new set of home-lab scien-Donald Keirn, the earliest promoter of So the IDO opened up Test Area Norththe project, was now a major general (TAN), thirty miles northeast ofand the director of the program. He sent Central. Lincoln Boulevard cut a newAir Force liaison officers to each field ribbon of asphalt across the desert, andl a b ora t o ry , including Idaho, to monitor State Highway 33 connecting Arco,progress. The Air Force desired to be as TAN, Mud Lake, Terreton, andindependent of its NRTS landlord as Rexburg took on new importance. Thepossible and declined to use most of the first phase of the project was calledI D O s central services. Autonomy was Initial Engine Test (IET), and the mis-important. Secrecy was important. sion was simple: prove that nuclearPlanners wanted plenty of room to heat could run a turbojet engine. Theexpand. They would need to build a run- tests involved a modified J-47 engine,wa y, for example. Although the purpose but no airplane and no flight.of the project was known to the public,the goal was to produce a weapons The big difference between this reactordelivery system. Technical work was and all the other reactors then at theclassified. GE wanted to be as distant NRTS was that it was mobile.Courtesy of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base from everyone else at the NRTS as pos- Contaminated air could not be allowedMajor General Donald Keirn sible. GE manned its own fire station, to blow out the nozzle indoorsor nearwork areas. Rather, the reactor-cum-engine traveled back and forth betweenan assembly area and the test pad, adistance of a mile and a half. A mandriving a shielded locomotive hauled adolly carrying the eighty-ton assemblyon four-rail tracks. At the test pad, theengine connected to a coupling sta-tion where the exhaust was filtered,went up a 150-foot stack, and wasreleased to the open air.After the first test, the test engineassembly would become a mobileradioactive hazard. This situation calledfor a new safety philosophy: place theshielding around people rather thanaround the reactor. Thus, the IET con-INEEL 57-1780 trol-room building and its entranceThe IET in 1957. The reactor-jet engine assembly was sheltered in the mobile aluminum building. Exhaust went were well shielded. Near the test pad,through the horizontal pipe to the stack. The control building is buried under earth shielding.1 2 0'