Treasures from the Archives

Taken from ORNL, “The News” Apr-Jun 1959


                    King Hussein of Jordan, then 23 years of age, visited ORNL, visiting the Gaseous Diffusion Plant before proceeding to ORNL.   After a short briefing by Dr. Weinberg, he visited the Graphite Reactor, Oak Ridge Research Reactor and the Radioisotope shipping and processing area.  Probably little known is that when his father, Prince Talal, became king he was forced by ill health to abdicate the throne on August 11, 1952.  On that date an act of Parliament proclaimed Hussein king and established a regency council to rule until May 2, 1953, when according to the Moslem lunar calendar, he attained his majority and ascended the throne.


                    ORNL as the nation's  principal supplier of radioisotopes, its new Fission Products Pilot Plant started routine separation and concentration of large quantities of radioisotopes from reactor fuel wastes.   Among the fission products available are cerium 144, cesium 137, promethium 147, strontium, and technetium 99.  These five are the main ones processed from among the 40 radioactive elements created by the fission of uranium atoms during the operation of nuclear reactors.


                    Oak Ridge was named the site for construction of a 30 million dollar ( 260 million in 2018 dollars) Experimental Gas-Cooled Reactor (EGCR).   It was expected that a turbo generator having a capacity of 25,000 kw is to be attached to the reactor for power generation.  If all goes as planned, the EGCR will be the largest reactor at ORNL.


                    Sir John Cockcroft, best known nuclear physicist, who shared the 1951 Nobel Prize with Professor Ernest Walton was a guest lecturer at ORNL.  His seminar subject, “The United Kingdom Nuclear Power Program” directly related to his Nobel Prize, the splitting of the atomic nucleus and being instrumental in the development of nuclear power.