Letter from Clifford K. Beck to Milton Small
May 11, 1953
May 11, 1953
Mr. Milton Small
615 Hillsboro Street
Raleigh, North Carolina
Dear Mr. Small:
When the Nuclear Reactor Building was first discussed, one of the
first and most important items described was a 10 ton crane (later
reduced to 6 tons) to be used as the major tool in assembling and dis-
assembling the reactor and in moving auxiliary apparatus in the reactor
room. From the first also there has been more trouble on this piece of
equipment than on any other; first in settling on a design, then in
completing the design in a reasonable time, then in arriving at under-
standings between contractor, vendor, manufacturer and architect,--and
now on the unsatisfactory performance of the crane and its failure to
meet either the design specifications or the expectations of the owners.
It has now become rather clear,--or the manufacturer's agents claim
this is so--that the crane performance would not have met the owners
anticipations even if all the design specifications as submitted by the
architect had been met. This I have been unable to ascertain because
of the manner in which the specifications are drawn. For example,
certain rather critical dimensional clearances are specified only in
terms of a particular make and model of equipment, and the dimension
of this equipment is available only in manufacturer's catalogues. Thus,
whether this equipment as specified or whether a different type as sub-
stituted would meet desired performance characteristics, I am not in
position to say.
The matters which now are definitely clear are (1) the crane as
finally delivered and installed does not coincide in several respects
with the architects specifications, and (2) the performance of the crane
as installed falls far short of the owners' requirements.
To make this clear let me enumerate the items in which have not
- 1. The crane hook now will not approach the walls of the room
closer than 5 feet or so. The original stipulation was 24"
for this distance. Anything more than 26" is not satisfactory;
anything more than 30" (as measured from the nearest approach
on the concrete wall, not the glued tile) will not be accepted.
- 2. The rate of travel of the "bridge" is at least twice too fast.
The brake action is too abrupt. The speed should be reduced by
at least a factor of 2; the brake should be removed. The present
rate of stopping and starting is hazardous to personnel and
dangerous to the delicate equipment to be handled.
Mr. Milton Small - 2 - May 11, 1953
- 3. The rate of travel on the "trolley" is too fast; it should be
reduced if possible, but could be accepted if great incon-
venience is involved in this change. Brakes on this motion,
though specified, should not be installed
- 4. Positive action limit switches should be installed to insure
that equipment is not damaged by travel beyond prescribed
- 5. The headroom clearance above the top of the reactor was spec-
ified at 10 feet. This clearance is now less than 9 1/2 feet.
This will be accepted, if the specifications listed above are
Clifford K. Beck
Head, Physics Department
CC: Dean J. H. Lampe
Mr. J. G. Vann
Mr. Frank Turner, Budget Bureau