A history of Commercial Nuclear Power for our Navy Nuclear Friends! – Page 2

ANPP significant accomplishments 

References for this list include the DOE document, the Suid book, and the Briefing Book. 

  • Detailed designs for pressurized and boiling water reactors, as well as gas-cooled and liquid-metal cooled reactors.
  • First nuclear power plant with a containment structure (SM-1)
  • First use of stainless steel for fuel element cladding (SM-1)
  • First nuclear power plant in the US to supply electrical power to a commercial grid (SM-1)
  • First in-place reactor vessel annealing, using nuclear heat source, in the US (SM-1A)
  • First steam generator replacement in US (SM-1A)
  • First pressure-suppression containment (SM-1A)
  • First operational boiling-water reactor power plant (SL-1)
  • First portable, pre-packaged, modular nuclear power plant to be installed, operated, and removed (PM-2A)
  • First use of nuclear power for desalinization (PM-3A)
  • First land-transportable, mobile nuclear power plant (ML-1)
  • First nuclear powered closed-loop (Brayton) gas turbine cycle (ML-1)
  • First floating (barge-mounted) nuclear power plant (MH-1A) 

Nuclear power plant operator training 

The Nuclear Power Plant Operator Course (NPPOC) was conducted at Ft. Belvoir. Applicants for the program were enlisted men who had to commit to serving a minimum of two years after completion of training. The requirements for admission to the NPPOC included aptitude test scores at least as stringent as those required for admission to Officer Candidate School. Over 1,000 Nuclear Power Plant operators were licensed between the years 1958 through 1977. The NPPOC was an intense and academically challenging year-long course. 

The training was in three phases of four months each: (1) Academic; (2) Operator; (3) Specialty. Academic phase was eight hours per day of classroom work on Electrical, Mechanical, Nuclear Engineering. Operator phase was at the SM-1, and was shift work both on the “floor” of the plant (i.e., as an “Equipment Operator”) and in the control room (Control Room Operator). Specialty phase was one of Mechanical, Electrical, Instrumentation, or Health Physics / Plant Chemistry. The plants were maintained by the operator personnel, trained in these plant maintenance specialties. On graduation from the NPPOC, an individual was “licensed to learn” how to operate a nuclear power plant. A series of badges worn on uniforms designated the individual’s progress through the training program.