Ken Moore on EI and RETRAN Origins

by Ken Moore
I think EI was formed by Chuck Rice, Norm Sowards, Roger Griebe, and Lois Nickum. At that time I was still working for Aerojet Nuclear. Dr. C. K. Leper, president of Aerojet Nuclear Company, made a speech to the employees (September 12, 1973) at the civic auditorium in Idaho Falls about the past achievements and future work. One of his comments that made me decide to leave the site was as follows.

“– What did they (TRSP) do this last year? First of all, in the area of modeling, they produced the last of the working computer models. Doesn’t mean the others won’t work, but — a — we will go on from the present series of computer models to a new series which will do a better job of modeling than the series we had, but we’ve completed the present series which many of you may know as the RELAP series. —”

At that time Roger Griebe and Chuck Rice convinced me to join EI. When I announced that I was leaving, one of my co-workers just back from Bethesda informed me that NRC would blackball me in all government work if I left.

At EI Roger, John Bradfute and I made several presentations to Walt Lowenstein and S Gopalakrishnan, who we knew as Gopal, at EPRI in Palo Alto to adapt RELAP4 as a useful analysis code for the utilities. At some time Gerry Lellouche was also involved in these discussions.

We did get a contract to proceed and as I remember Tom Fernandez was the project manager at that time. Some time later Tom left EPRI for a position at one of the utilities and that is when I think Lance became the RETRAN project manager.

At EI Roger was initially in charge of all of this but eventually I took over the software development. We (Roger and I) hired a number of talented people to staff up for this EPRI funded work including ED Hughes, Jim McFadden and several newcomers from Idaho State University Craig Peterson, Mark Paulsen and Garry Gose. To produce a complete list of the staff is beyond my memory base but hopefully a great number of them will be at the get together in Idaho Falls in August 2017.

The name RETRAN was invented by Fred Lang to indicate the code was addressing rather benign Operational Transients rather than violent accidents as was RELAP4. As a side note, Fred was fired for punching-out Eric Petersen, a VP under Chuck.

EI eventually went bankrupt and several of the survivors by the name of Jim McFadden, Craig Peterson, Garry Gose, and Mark Paulsen asked me if I would form a company hopefully to continue the RETRAN work with EPRI funding. Roger Griebe and I had been helping Larry Ybarrondo (as consultants) to form his new company Scientech. I remember telling Larry when we were on a flight to DC that I was going to make a new company that eventually became known as Computer Systems and Analysis Inc (CSA Inc). Larry and I parted as friends.

CSA was formed in October 1988 by me, McFadden, Paulsen, Peterson, and Gose and we did continue the development of RETRAN for EPRI with Lance as the project manager. I retired from CSA in 1994. Developments within CSA and ownership of RETRAN are best referred to Mark Paulsen and Garry Gose.

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