Frank Munger’s Atomic City Underground, a blog by our sister paper the Knoxville News Sentinel, uncovered some previously undiscovered photos of then-Capt. Hyman Rickover, before he became father of the nuclear Navy.
The paper obtained the photo at left, likely taken in fall of 1946, from Tim Gawne, who found it in the archives of Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Munger writes that most surviving photos of Rickover were taken after the launching of the first nuclear-powered submarine Nautilus in 1954. This rare photo, which escaped being destroyed with a batch of others, was taken while Rickover was the senior officer stationed at Oak Ridge for training school.
Gawne tells Munger that Rickover’s office “was at the town site administration building. He arranged it so he would be sharing quarters with F. Daniels. Daniels was du Pont’s lead engineer in the construction of the graphite reactor and also of the ‘Daniels Power Pile’ which was later moved up to Argonne. Daniels laid out a conceptual design for a gas cooled power plant for use in a submarine. As you are aware, it was never adopted but it was one of the first well thought out and documented pieces on the sub project. While Rickover was not the commanding officer of the Navy men at Oak Ridge, he was the senior officer and in charge of the other’s fitness reports. He used this leverage to generate cohesion. They called themselves ‘The Oak Ridge Naval Group’.”