b'P ROVING THE P RINCIPLEture from standard practice, Rickoverinsisted on skipping certain steps intransforming the idea into a finishedproduct. Tr a d it i o na l l y, scientists tested anew idea to prove the principle that itwould work. Then they built a proto-type, usually not full size, to test fuelsand components. Next came a demon-stration plant, large enough to establishthe economics of operation and to putthe components to a long-term test. Ifthe idea still had vitality, the sponsorfinally built a full-scale operating plant.The process usually took years.But Rickover wanted to buy time. Thenation that first develops nuclearengines, he said, will rule the oceansof the world; our enemies are workingon such engines; we mustbe first. He INEEL 56-2744discarded the neat sequential view of The project was spread out all over and over. During one of his inspectionsresearch and development and ordered the country. The Ar gonne reactor in Idaho, he stopped in his tracks. a full-scale proof of principle reactor designers were in Chicago;to be built in tandem with a full-scale Westinghouse and Bettis were in Whats that equipment over there bysubmarine, USS Nautilus. 21 P itt s b u rgh; the reactor prototype was the bulkhead? he asked, although hein Idaho; and the N a u t i l u ss h i p y ard obviously knew what it was.was in Connecticut. To make sure themate to the Idaho-tested reactor would Thats a coffee maker we use duringfit into the Connecticut hull, Rickover work, a supervisor assured him.required that each have identicaldimensions. The sizes and shapes of Get it out of here, the Admiral insist -parts, the piping, pump and control ed. You know the rules. Move it out -connections, shielding, the mainte- side the hull.22nance routines, and the training of thecrewif they worked in the Idaho The hull section containing the reactorprototype, they would work in rested in a sea tank (originally calledConnecticut. So the Idaho reactor was Mc G a r ag h an s Sea after Commandercocooned in a full-sized replica of two Jack McGaraghan, the Navys executiveN a u t i l u shull sections, those contain- of ficer in Idaho) of water forty feet deeping the engineering room and the and fifty feet in diameter. The purposereactor compartment. of the water was to help shielding spe-INEEL 09582 cialists study backscatter, radiationAbove right. Officers enter hull of Nautilus prototype. On the matter of perfect congruence that might escape the hull, bounce offNote rim of sea tank at upper left. Above. Reactor is between Idaho and Connecticut, water molecules, and reflect back intoin hull section surrounded by water. Rickover reinforced the principle over the living quarters of the ship. The tests5 2'