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Metz on Harold Denton: Memories of a life in nuclear safety
A number of years ago, historian and writer Chuck Metz Jr. was at the Bush’s Visitor Center in Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains when he ran into former Nuclear Regulatory Commission official Harold Denton and his wife. Metz was at the visitor center, which opened in 2010 and is now a tourist hotspot, because, as he explained to the Dentons at the time, he had overseen the development of its on-site museum and had written a companion coffee-table history book.
The chance meeting turned into a friendship and a fruitful collaboration. Denton, who in 1979 was the public spokesperson for the NRC as the Three Mile Island-2 accident unfolded, had been working on his memoir, but he was stuck. He asked Metz for help with the organization and compilation of his notes. “I was about to retire,” Metz said, “but I thought that exploring the nuclear world might be an interesting change of pace.”
Denton passed away in 2017, but by then Metz had spent many hours with his fast friend and was able to complete the memoir, Three Mile Island and Beyond: Memories of a Life in Nuclear Safety, which was published recently by ANS. Metz shared some of his thoughts about Denton and the book with Nuclear News. The interview was conducted by NN’s David Strutz.
Raymond K. Maynard, Tushar K. Ghosh, Robert V. Tompson, Dabir S. Viswanath, Sudarshan K. Loyalka
Nuclear Technology | Volume 172 | Number 1 | October 2010 | Pages 88-100
Technical Paper | Materials for Nuclear Systems | dx.doi.org/10.13182/NT10-6
Articles are hosted by Taylor and Francis Online.
An experimental system was constructed in accordance with the standard ASTM C835-06 to measure the total hemispherical emittance (emissivity) of structural materials of interest in very high temperature reactor (VHTR) systems. First, data were acquired for 304 stainless steel as well as for oxidized and unoxidized nickel, and good reproducibility and agreement with the literature was found. Emissivity of Hastelloy X was then measured under different conditions that included (a) "as received" (original sample) from the supplier, (b) with increased surface roughness, (c) oxidized, and (d) graphite coated. Measurements were made over a wide range of temperatures. Hastelloy X, as received from the supplier, was cleaned before additional roughening of the surface and coating with graphite. The emissivity of the original samples (cleaned after received) varied from [approximately]0.18 to 0.28 in the temperature range of 473 to 1498 K. The apparent emissivity increased only slightly as the roughness of the surface increased (without corrections for the increased surface area due to the increased surface roughness). When Hastelloy X was coated with graphite or was oxidized, however, its emissivity was observed to increase substantially. With a deposited graphite layer on the Hastelloy, increases from 0.2 to 0.53 at 473 K and from 0.25 to 0.6 at 1473 K were observed - a finding that has strong favorable safety implications in terms of decay heat removal in postaccident VHTR environments. Initial oxidation of Hastelloy X surfaces was observed to notably increase the emissivity of the Hastelloy X but was not observed to progress significantly beyond the initial oxidation even with more prolonged exposure. Since there is likely to be initial surface oxidation of any Hastelloy X used in the construction of VHTRs, this represents an essentially neutral finding in terms of the safety implications in postaccident VHTR environments.