AUTHORDuncan, Francis
TITLERickover and the Nuclear Navy: The Discipline of Technology
PUBLISHERNaval Institute Press
CITYAnnapolis, MD
DATE PUBLISHED1990
ISBN0-87021-236-2


This biography describes the last part of the career of U.S. Admiral Hyman George Rickover, the father of naval nuclear reactors and of nuclear propulsion. The book is officially authorized, by both the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) and Rickover himself, as the sequel to Nuclear Navy, which described Rickover’s career until 1962. The book is not a traditional biography, but rather a description of a career; it includes personal information only to further understanding of Rickover's professional philosophy. The author begins the volume with the year 1957, organizing it as a series of interrelated topics that overlap chronologically. The account starts with background information about nuclear reactors and Rickover. Then Rickover’s application of nuclear propulsion technology to the submarine force is examined, starting with the Skipjack attack submarines, followed by his struggle to apply nuclear propulsion to the surface fleet. There is a lengthy chapter about the Thresher disaster, as well as an account of Rickover and the breakthrough Shippingport civilian pressurized water and breeder-ready reactor. Lastly, the author examines Rickover’s disciplined, perfectionist leadership style. Rickover's demanding standards of excellence have been used by the nuclear power industry to promote safety. The author had full access to Rickover, his staff, and his personal records in creating the biography. The book includes six useful appendices and a section of photographs.


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