b'C H A P T E R 8T H E R EA CT O R Z O O G O E S C R I T I C A LThe Navy experiments were costlybecause the conditions in the capsuleduplicated the effect of pressurizedwater on the sample. One of the Navysuseful early findings was to discoverthat radiation affected stainless-steelwelds by making them stronger, butalso made the metal more brittle. 12The S1W had gone through the samekinds of start-up and safety proceduresas the EBR and the MTR. It was sched-uled to go critical on March 29, 1953,but Rickovers approach to milestonemoments was rather more calculatingthan either Phillipsor Argonnes. Hefelt the occasion to be of extremeimportance. Certain people who should INEEL 6477have been there were not. Some of In the adjoining area, inside the hull of Above. The S1W building, camera facing southwest.those who were present should not have this submarine-on-land, steam hissed Note MTR area in background. Below. Inside thebeen. So he postponed the procedure against the turbine blades. propellerA S1W hull during construction.for a day and adjusted the mix of peo- shaft began to turn.14ple in the control room. The reactorfirst went critical shortly before mid- The heat of the reactor was doing mus-night on March 30, 1953. 13 cle work. A hasty champagne made ofalcohol from the chemistry lab andTwo months later it was time to prove soda water from a soft drink dispenserthat the high-temperature reactor could was mixed for a toast. 15produce enough power to turn a pro-peller shaft. Rickover was again in the When Westinghouse was ready in Junecontrol room, along with AEC commis- to take the reactor to its next milestone,sioner Thomas Murray. At the epochal full operating power, it began a 24-hourmoment, Rickover instructed Murray to endurance run. Again Rickover inter-open a certain valve. John Simpson vened. He was anxious to convincelater wrote:skeptics that nuclear-powered propul-sion was truly reliablethat a boatThe commissioner was thrilled at the could remain submerged for a protract-chance to play an active role in makinged run and the crew come safely home.history. Murray stepped forward, He decided suddenly to extend the rungrasped the valve handle, and slowly and simulate a crossing of the Atlanticturned it.Ocean. This would take nearly a hun-dred hours at full power. 16Naval Reactor Facilities7 1'