Customer Reviews


25 Reviews
5 star:
 (14)
4 star:
 (6)
3 star:
 (1)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:
 (3)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BEFORE THREE MILE ISLAND, THERE WAS THE SL-1 NUCLEAR EXPLOSION
Five RIVETING Stars. In this remarkable book, Todd Tucker gives us the details of a horrific incident at the dawn of the nuclear age that helped change US nuclear history. But was it an accident? The book also sets the stage as to where that history was likely headed until that day, weeks before President Kennedy took office. At the National Reactor Testing Station in...
Published on March 20, 2009 by RSProds

versus
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A less than average read
I purchased this book while killing time at Powell's near Portland. While I learned a bit about the USS US, I was a little disappointed by the end of the book. One might try to redeem the book from its subtitle about Rickover and nuclear aircraft, but I decided to write this review to balance out the more positive reviews I've written on Amazon.

I picked up the...
Published on August 25, 2011 by Eugene N. Miya


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A less than average read, August 25, 2011
By 
Eugene N. Miya (Moffett Field, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I purchased this book while killing time at Powell's near Portland. While I learned a bit about the USS US, I was a little disappointed by the end of the book. One might try to redeem the book from its subtitle about Rickover and nuclear aircraft, but I decided to write this review to balance out the more positive reviews I've written on Amazon.

I picked up the book hoping to learn more about the revolt of the admirals and carriers. The interwoven stories might work for followers of Tom Clancy novels but it doesn't work well here. If you want to read a book about Hyman Rickover, I got Norman Polmar's book from the public library: RICKOVER. Atomic America's author didn't even including Rickover's final sarcastic comment when the Navy came to naming a ship after him (a sub), it wasn't an aircraft carrier. Rickover knew who buttered his bread.

The SL1 disaster is also documented in Idaho Falls: The Untold Story of America's First Nuclear Accident which I purchased in Las Vegas for a retired friend in the nuclear weapons infrastructure. Regardless of whose version of the story you hear, you reading about blind men trying to describe an elephant. That's one story. The author tries to balance this with the USAF's failed attempt at nuclear aircraft. However, he completely leaves out the attempts at nuclear rocketry: the Kiwi, Rover, and NERVA prototypes still sit out in the desert visible using Google earth/maps. And that leaves out Dyson's and Stan Frankel's Orion at General Atomics.

I was left hoping for more (quantity) and better quality. Read the book if you must but be aware more exists out there. Not I can feel better about writing a more positive review on someone else's book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Military nuclear race, May 24, 2009
January 3, 1961, the quiet Idaho night was shattered by the sound of a fire alarm. The fire crew had already responded to the same location twice this night. The firefighters of the National Reactor Testing Station were assigned to SL-1, one of the more than twenty reactors the Army had assembled in Idaho. Three men were assigned to the reactor that night...John Byrnes, Richard McKinley and Richard Legg. The fire crew approached the reactor building and quickly realized that something had gone horribly wrong. The three men were in the control room appeared to be dead.

Several months ago I heard the tail end of an overnight talk show which featured Todd Tucker being interviewed about his book, Atomic America. I had never heard of a fatal nuclear accident within the United States...my familiarity with nuclear disasters began with Three Mile Island in 1979. Atomic America goes into great detail about the night of the accident, the personalities, military records, and known history of the three men working that night, the history of the Army's nuclear program and fallout from this accident. Tucker has interviewed people who responded that fateful night as well as reading through reams of previously classified documents and reports. He provides us with the history and personalities that brought the military into the nuclear arena. What is most striking is the amount of money and leeway given to the Army and Air Force as they tried to develop nuclear programs. Both were trying to catch up with the Navy's wildly successful program that produced the nuclear powered Nautilus submarine in (considered the gold standard). Both were looking to adapt nuclear energy to fit their needs...including providing power for an operational base under the arctic ice. What makes this a more readable book (given the subject it could have been a real snoozer) is Tucker's first hand knowledge of the military's nuclear programs, having completed training and serving on a nuclear submarine as a naval Nuclear Engineer. Not only does he peel back the layers of misinformation, myth and gossip connected with SL-1, he presents a viable and sadly all too probable explanation for the deadly explosion.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BEFORE THREE MILE ISLAND, THERE WAS THE SL-1 NUCLEAR EXPLOSION, March 20, 2009
By 
RSProds "rbsprods" (Deep in the heart of Texas) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Five RIVETING Stars. In this remarkable book, Todd Tucker gives us the details of a horrific incident at the dawn of the nuclear age that helped change US nuclear history. But was it an accident? The book also sets the stage as to where that history was likely headed until that day, weeks before President Kennedy took office. At the National Reactor Testing Station in Idaho which had more than 20 inter-military service reactors spread over a large expanse of land, on 3 January 1961 at 9:01 PM the Army's "inherently safe" SL-1 nuclear reactor exploded, killing the crew on watch. But this book covers much more than the incident itself, giving a capsule US nuclear history, rich in detail, emphasizing the military aspects and the dangers of nuclear realities. We also get the backstory on the creation of the Department of Defense, the AEC and other key agencies, star-crossed Secretaries of Defense, inter-service rivalry on an unprecedented level, the fate of the USS United States, the "revolt of the admirals", intra-service back stabbing at the highest levels, and Admiral Hyman George Rickover's key role in this country's nuclear history. And there are the SL-1 related incidents: a wild bachelor party, the alleged love triangle, public fist fights, coverups, and more. Then the true reasons leading up to the explosion are revealed and the true heroism that followed, along with the investigation of the explosion, the formidable cleanup attempts, and the aftermath of SL-1. The author makes no attempt to document every event & accident on the nuclear history timeline, instead he skillfully uses the SL-1 accident as the touchstone for targeted events that preceded it and what has followed. The activities of the Army with regard to Camp Century and the activities of the Air Force with regard to ANP are simply mind-boggling. There is some repetitiveness on the chapter 'switch backs', but the reader should enjoy this deep investigation and may be quite surprised at events that historically have been given 'short shrift'. This book will put 'Three Mile Island' in proper perspective. Highly Recommended!! Five FASCINATING Stars!
(This review is based on a Kindle download.)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A balanced and accurate accounting of SL1 and Nuclear Power, April 1, 2009
As a Nuclear Engineer who started his course of study in 1962, the SL1 accident was one of the first items for review in the curriculum at the University of Wisconsin for me. In 1971 I progressed into the Commercial Nuclear Program and managed every aspect of Commercial Nuclear Power including holding a Senior Reactor Operator License and on shift management of Commercial Nuclear Reactors.
'Atomic America' is far different than the usual sensational writing one finds when reading books on this subject. I found it balanced, well written and very accurate except for two highly techincal points.
If you want a sense of Nuclear Power and its history, this book is a good starting point.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Radioactive Dreams, April 30, 2009
In 1982, I was a student at the Naval Nuclear Power School in Orlando, Florida where I learned first-hand the principles of naval nuclear propulson. Although I flunked out late in the program, I came away with a unique perspective on the exotic way power is produced from the splitting of an atom.

Mr. Tucker presents a nutshell history of the military's nuclear power programs where each branch of the Armed Services had ideas about how to harness the atom. The Army wanted nuclear power to power remote radar stations including those on the DEW line near the Arctic Circle; the Air Force wanted nuclear power to fly its bomber fleets around the world while the Navy wanted to power its submarines without refueling or surfacing. Under the guidance of Hyman Rickover, the Navy proved to be the most sucessful branch in achieving all things nuclear.

Mr. Tucker balances the benefits of nuclear power with dire warnings about the misuse and neglect of the atom as evidenced by the SL-1 disaster in 1960. It is a very informative book and even though I am skeptical about the validity of global warming, a theory that Mr. Tucker seems to support, I recommend this book for all to read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars I recommend this book to anyone who wants to understand the ..., July 12, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Atomic America: How a Deadly Explosion and a Feared Admiral Changed the Course of Nuclear History (Kindle Edition)
A most interesting read. I worked at the Idaho Nuclear Lab for many years, and remember the SL1 accident as a child growing up in Idaho Falls. It was rewarding to have many misconceptions about the accident, and nuclear energy, cleared up. Thank you to the author for his insightful research, which gives us an historical understanding of nuclear energy and Admiral Rickover. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to understand the politics and history of nuclear power.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting story of SR-1 reactor accident and some other reactor history, March 29, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Atomic America: How a Deadly Explosion and a Feared Admiral Changed the Course of Nuclear History (Kindle Edition)
This is the story of the U.S. Army's SL-1 nuclear reactor and the accident in Idaho. In the early days of atomic power after WW II, all of the armed services wanted to have their own nuclear reactor programs.

The AIr Force had a program to build a reactor to put on an airplane and use as a source of power. The Air Force actually had a reactor built and carried it an on aircraft, but did not use it for power. Very fortunately, there were no crashes, as it would have been a mess to clean up. One big problem was proper shielding fro the reactor as shielding is very heavy, and the shielding was an issue.

The Army wanted reactors to use as power sources at remote sites like the DEW line.

The Navy wanted reactors to power ships. Adm Rickover was the driver who made it happen for the USN and instilled the highest standards in the service.

In the early days, the reactor designs were new, and the control systems, and training programs were all being developed.

The Army SL-1 reactor was a small unit with five control rods, with one in the center. It was located by itself and isolated from other facilities. The reactor design was such that the center control rod was critical. If it was removed too far, the reactor could go critical with all of the other four control rods fully inserted. During the manufacture and assembly of the reactor, some boron strips were tack welded in the channels for the control rods. Then in the operation, there were sometimes problems in moving the control rods, that were attributed to problems with the boron strips in the control rod channels. On 3 January 1961, there were three US Army personnel working on the SL-1 reactor. They had a task list. Apparently, when the three were working on a task involving lifting up the center control rod, an error occurred. Most likely, the control rod stuck, and then when it was forced, it suddenly came out too far, and the reactor went critical almost instantaneously and emitted a very high level of radiation, and blew the top off the reactor. All three people were killed as a result of this event. The book then covers the resultant clean up and associated efforts in the Idaho desert. It needs to be noted that these three people were killed by a military (Army) reactor program. No one has been killed by the Navy or the commercial power programs in the US.

Interesting book with lots of history of the nuclear reactor programs in the US.

This book would be of interest to people who are interested in the history of the nuclear power program in the US.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars A Good Overview, January 11, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Atomic America: How a Deadly Explosion and a Feared Admiral Changed the Course of Nuclear History (Kindle Edition)
Have read multiple books regarding nuclear power within the Army, Navy, and Air Force, and the SL-1 accident. This book covers it all in a snapshot so a good read for someone looking for an overview. Flows well and an easy read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome! I regifted this to another Nuclear Engineer and he also truly enjoyed it. Very enlightening book about 'the early years, November 2, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Awesome! I regifted this to another Nuclear Engineer and he also truly enjoyed it. Very enlightening book about 'the early years
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Transcendental Nuclear Fission: From the Bomb to our Ally?, September 8, 2013
By 
John J. Duffy "John D" (garden city, NY United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This book covers the use of nuclear power from the very beginning when optimism knew no limits through some of the sobering incidents which have occurred since then. It's a balanced account that gave me a perspective I lacked before reading it. It has major figures who we are familiar with (Admiral Rickover) and it has technicians who did early battle and lost their lives battling this with this "genie" which escaped from the bottle.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Search these reviews only
Rate and Discover Movies
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.