In The Spotlight
“Should I stick to my plan, or should I seize a new opportunity? There really is no point in looking back.” Fortunately for us, Dr. Ted Rockwell, one of our nation’s foremost experts in the field of nuclear energy, did not look back. His lifelong devotion to his incredible career deserves our respect.
As a graduate student, Rockwell was recruited during the earliest days of the Manhattan Atomic Bomb project during WWII. He remembered the day that he was offered the position: “The man said to me, ‘I have a job for you, I just can’t tell you what it is.’ After a few days of questioning my peers who were working in war jobs and looking through scientific journals, I guessed that he might be talking about atomic power. I asked him if that was the truth, and he said ‘the United States neither confirms nor denies the research of atomic energy’, and then I knew for sure. That night, a guy in a coat and fedora came to my room and said ‘keep your mouth shut, kid.’”
Studying nuclear energy was not Dr. Rockwell’s original career choice, but as the opportunity opened up for him, he took it. He received numerous awards and recognition for his outstanding achievements with promoting nuclear power. As Technical Director, He helped Admiral Rickover construct the “Nuclear Navy”, assisted with the construction of the world’s first nuclear power plant, and remains a dedicated author, advisor, and spokesman for the promotion of nuclear power in the United States.
Now more than ever, nuclear power lies on the forefront of our nation’s consciousness, due to the recent tsunami in Japan that damaged several of their nuclear power plants. Rockwell addresses the safety concerns that resulted due to fear of leaking radiation from the Fukushima power plant. “I have made the claim publicly that in the United States, not a single person has died from radiation caused by a nuclear power plant.” Rockwell says. He goes on: “It makes me angry when the workers in Japan are told that the exposure from the radiation will kill them, that it’s a suicide mission. I have voluntarily exposed myself to more radiation than that several times, and I’m pretty healthy.” Rockwell assures us that the radiation leaked from this plant will not create any kind of ‘catastrophe’, going so far as to say that no one will die. “Radiation exposure is not a yes or no. We are exposed to radiation on a daily basis. The amount of radiation coming from these plants will not lead to any deaths.”
Dr. Rockwell is an authority our nation should be turning to in this time of nuclear crisis. As one of our leaders in nuclear power, the public should heed his expertise. From the initial research into atomic weaponry to becoming a world class nuclear engineer, Dr. Rockwell has the background to provide realistic assessment of nuclear radiation safety.