Letter to the editor: A clarification

A clarification

Received Feb. 19

I would like to offer a clarification to the op-ed “America’s first nuclear accident,” Feb. 18, 2018.

In this op-ed, Stanton Anderson states “… three young military men became the first humans to die from a nuclear explosion.”

What he should have said is that they were the first people to die from an explosion of a nuclear reactor. The first humans to die from a nuclear explosion were in Hiroshima, Japan, on Aug. 6, 1945.

In actuality, the explosion at the SL-1 reactor was not a nuclear explosion. When the control rod was pulled, the reactor went prompt critical turning the cooling water to steam which over pressurized the reactor causing the explosion.

I realize that this may be a small point, but after many years working in the nuclear field at what is now the Idaho National Laboratory, I became very sensitized to the use of the term “nuclear explosion” when dealing with reactors. I would like to thank Mr. Anderson for his informative op-ed.

(Word count: 167)

ROBERT P. EVANS, Ph.D.

Idaho Falls

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