September 23, 1950 letter from J. H. Lampe to Acting President W. D. Carmichael and Chancellor J. W. Harrelson
Sept. 23, 1950
This letter is a status report on continuing plans for the nuclear reactor. At this time a preliminary design for the reactor had been submitted to the Atomic Energy Commission.
September 23, 1950
Acting President W. D. Carmichael
Chancellor J. W. Harrelson
This letter describes the present status of our program leading toward the es-
tablishment of a nuclear reactor on the campus at North Carolina State College.
Some essential decisions in this program must be made in the very near future
by the Administration of North Carolina State College and the Consolidated Uni-
versity of North Carolina.
Since early last spring Dr. Beck and I and several members of the Physics De-
partment have been working with members of the Research Division of the Atomic
Energy Commission in working out plans for the establishment of this low-tempera-
ture nuclear reactor on our campus. The Atomic Energy Commission recognized and
approved this forward and constructive type of thinking by giving our Physics
Department a contract which helped our staff with the design of the reactor.
At the same time the State of North Carolina set up a budget to aid the work of
the design of the reactor. The preliminary design was completed and was submitted
to the Atomic Energy Commission in Washington on August 18. This preliminary
design has been studied by various technical branches of the Commission and on
September 15 the Reactor Safeguard Committee of the Atomic Energy Commission held
a formal meeting in New York to consider this design. Dr. Beck and two other
members of our Physics Department attended this meeting.
We now have unofficial information which indicates that the Safeguard Committee,
as well as the Research Division of the Atomic Energy Commission, deem it entirely
feasible and safe to have a nuclear reactor of the kind that we propose on our
campus at N. C. State College, and such recommendations are being presented to
the Atomic Energy Commission proper. It is anticipated that the Atomic Energy
Commission will be ready to announce its decision not later than the first week
When this decision is made, North Carolina State College and the Consolidated Uni-
versity should be in a position to make a joint public announcement with the Atomic
Energy Commission on the essential features of this program as we desire them to
be presented to the public. We should be especially concerned as to financial
support and working procedures. The Atomic Energy Commission has agreed that
they will tentatively withhold all information on this program from the press un-
til a joint release can be made. The Commission, however, frequently finds that
"leaks" occur on such matters when there is such wide public interest as in this
I know your keen interest and continued encouragement to our Reactor project
will be evident in the public statement that you will release. Dr. Beck and
I await your instructions and counsel.
J. H. Lampe
Dean of Engineering
cc: Mr. J. G. Vann
Dr. Clifford Beck