Air date: Tues., Dec. 16, 10:00 pm
The Birth of Nuclear Power
Combative, provocative and searingly blunt, Admiral Hyman G. Rickover was a flamboyant maverick and a unique American. When few thought it possible, then-Captain Rickover undertook to harness the power of the atom to drive the first nuclear-powered submarine, the USS Nautilus, whose trip under the polar ice pack was one of the great adventure stories of the 1950s. Later, Rickover built the world’s first commercial nuclear power plant at Shippingport, PA. Rickover’s achievements made him a national celebrity, and he appeared on the cover of Time magazine. Many questioned Rickover’s goal of an all nuclear navy, and others questioned his creation of a technocratic elite, his own navy within the Navy. However, few contested that he had transformed the Navy and changed the course of America’s technological development.
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