Welcome to Olde Camp NRTS

by Dan Hughes

The Good Olde Good Tyme days of Thermal Hydraulics at the National Reactor Testing Station (NRTS), frequently and fondly referred to as Camp NRTS.

This blog is a part of the Loosely Organized Gathering scheduled for Sunday August 20, 2017, in Idaho Falls, Idaho. This morning it occurred to me that we could try catching up and keeping up by way of this blog. There are two ways for you to contribute as follows: (1) comment on posts, and (2) provide a post. For the latter, send a text file along with JPG versions of any photos and PDF versions of reports and papers to me and I’ll make a post. If you would rather construct your post within WordPress, let me know and I’ll set you up. (At least I think that can be done.)

Contributions from all are warmly welcomed and greatly appreciated. All topics are open for presentation and discussion. The people and their activities, both personal and professional, including both the serious and the frivolous. And yes, I’ve heard that some legend grade frivolous activities might have been a part of the wide and deep camaraderie back in the good olde days at Camp NRTS. I never did any, of course.

I’ll start off. I’m not sure where to start, but here goes.

The Google will lead you to several articles about historial events at the National Reactor Testing Station. I vaguely recall that I ran across a free online report or book about Site NRTS, but I can’t locate it now. Maybe someone has a URL, and I’ll keep looking.

This morning I did run across this listing of reports from the early days (I’ve edited the list to remove repetitive stuff). The reports were produced when the Atomic Energy Division of Phillips Petroleum Company ran the NRTS. You’ll very likely see some names with which you are very familiar, and might see a citation to a report of which you are an author. The original list, with links to sources, is available here.

Skipping ahead by about a decade. Bob Lyczkowski has pulled together information about the research into transient, compressible, boiling two-phase thermal-hydraulics that was initiated in the early 1970s at Camp NRTS. Bob’s article, The History of Multiphase Computational Fluid Dynamics appeared in Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, in 2010; part of a special issue honoring Professor Dimitri Gidaspow on the occasion of his 75th birthday. The work was managed by George Brockett, Larry Ybarrondo, and Chuck Solbrig.

Hopefully the contributions of these three will be the subjects of posts to this blog. But first I want to mention George Brockett. George’s deep understanding of the PWR LB LOCA, and excellent communications of that understanding, were primary factors in the success of establishing the NRTS as the center of water reactor safety research at Camp NRTS. I still recall the matrices of System Components, Time Periods, and Critical Physical Phenomena and Processes that he would construct, and discuss in depth. His development of these matrices pre-date the now-standard PIRT approach by about two decades. And make no mistake, he was doing PIRTs before PIRTs were named.

If anyone has a copy of any of George’s matrices that can be converted to a PDF, let me know and we’ll get it posted.

My opportunties at Camp NRTS were due to Larry and Chuck. First to Larry because he gave me the opportunity to accept my first full-time, tax-paying, gainful employment following grad school. I managed to finally leave grad school in early 1969 and move to Idaho Falls. I sometimes think my major Professor, M. N. Ozisik, only agreed to me leaving after all the grant money had been spent. And then, in late 1970 or early 1971, Chuck and I more or less fell into collaboration. That happy circumstance led to me having a very successful career, and at the same time lots of fun. My career probably closed out in 2016 as the on-the-clock consulting seems to have dried up. I don’t regret a minute of the past 47 years work. If I count the five years at grad school, it’s 52 years. Oh, plus one year at Pratt and Whitney Aircraft working on the Jet T 58D engine for the famed Blackbird airplane. The fastest airplane ever built.

I can’t forget to mention Lance Agee. After the project at Camp NRTS crashed and burned in 1975 (see the article by Bob Lyczkowski mentioned above), Lance gave me the opportunity to continue having fun while full-time gainfully employed. It’s a toss-up between Larry and and Chuck and Lance as to which is the best Project Manager I worked for.

I am not as familiar with the activities at TAN. Maybe some can fill in the going-ons out there.

More later.

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