Joseph R. Dietrich, Ph.D. (1912-1982)
ANS President 1977-1978
Dr. Joseph R. Dietrich served as president of the American Nuclear Society (ANS) from 1977-1978. In addition, he served on the Society’s Board of Directors from 1958 to 1961, and again from 1977 to 1980. He was a Fellow of ANS.
Dr. Dietrich was internationally known for a pioneering career in nuclear power reactor development that spanned more than thirty years.
He began his nuclear career in 1946, when he joined the Daniels Pile development project in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. In 1948, he moved to Argonne National Laboratory, where he was in charge of reactor physics and shielding design for the prototype nuclear power plant for the Nautilus, the first nuclear-powered submarine. At Argonne he was also in charge of the planning, theory, and experimental instrumentation for the BORAX experiments, at the conclusion of which he directed the physics work for the experimental boiling water reactor. During 1953-54, Dietrich took part in the first large-scale reactor safety experiments at the National Reactor Testing Station.
In 1956, with the founding of General Nuclear Engineering Corporation, he joined the company as a vice president. Later, after the company had been purchased by Combustion Engineering, Inc., Dietrich became chief scientist in Combustion Engineering’s Nuclear Power Systems Division, a position he held until his retirement in February 1980.
Dr. Dietrich earned his B.S. in physics and chemistry from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, and M.S. and Ph.D. in physics from University of Virginia in 1937 and 1939, respectively.