“Rickover and Rolls Royce” or “How England Got Nuclear Submarines”

This remarkable interview with Robert Hill, Former Chief Naval Engineer Officer of the Royal Navy, discusses the peculiarities of Hyman Rickover, including some very revealing stories, as well as Rickover’s role in developing the civilian reactor at Shippingport. The description of Rickover’s interaction with the chairman of Rolls Royce is quite amusing, though it also highlights the absurd degree of capricious control one unpopular admiral had over the proliferation of military nuclear technologies.

It also makes me want to find this 1962 paper “Submarine Propulsion in the Royal Navy”.

Part of the same set of interviews is another remarkable one with Stanley Orman, Former Deputy Director of the UK’s Atomic Weapons Establishment at Aldermaston. He seems to clearly provide classified nuclear weapon information, for instance on the details of uranium oxidation in oxygen and nitrogen; plutonium-tritium interactions and how to inhibit them; long-term plastic and rubber degradation as major issues in maintaining weapon functioning; and details on systems to prevent unauthorized nuclear detonations.

Author: Milan

In the spring of 2005, I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in International Relations and a general focus in the area of environmental politics. In the fall of 2005, I began reading for an M.Phil in IR at Wadham College, Oxford. Outside school, I am very interested in photography, writing, and the outdoors. I am writing this blog to keep in touch with friends and family around the world, provide a more personal view of graduate student life in Oxford, and pass on some lessons I've learned here.

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