The following is a partial list of those Nuclear Pioneers who have left us recently.

This information has come to us from past communications with Roger Baird, and others, and is in no way meant to be comprehensive:


I am sorry to report that the cycle of life has been completed for:



Harold Klepfer


Bob Ahmann
Harry Burgess
Michael Vincent Curulla
Robert Walter Darmitzel
Leon Fidrych
Ed Fuller
Frederick Hemeon
Louis Latronica
Elaine May
Hugh Miller
Richard Wesley Perry
Robert (Bob) Allen Rand
Trevor Rowland
Caroline Wright Smith
Howard Summers
Marv Tanner


Roger Anderson
Bill Arlt
Roger Kent Baird
Charles Boznak
Bob Brandon
William R. Cloud
Mark Colby
Bill English
John Findlay
Israel Ganz
Barbara Hansen
Robert Ikemoto
Thomas Lancaster
Robin A. Mickle
William Milam
Jim Oates
Mark Polomik
Edward Rosicky
Craig Sawyer
Albert Louis Scheideler
Jim Spirakis (year passed ?)
Kuzuo Utsumi
Fred Wassem
Ed Wood
Ed Zebroski (year passed ?)


Donna Marie Baird
Ron Barris
Barbara Blake
Ben Calimpong
Rey Call
John Findlay
Victor Hazel
Robert Huggins
Robert Hall Jones
Don Keysor
Paul Kurtz
Kathleen Levin
Don Malloy
James Miller
Charlie Mitchell
William R Perrault
Jack Restrick
John Rocchio
Richard Roof
Steve Sawochka
Earl Strain
Tom White


David D Akers
Ned Biglieri
Thomas Blaisdell
Glen V Brynsvold
Art Dalke
Carl Ehlers
Burt Epstein
Vincent Fiorenza
Robert Flinn
Geza Gyorey
Maurice Indig
Jim Kelso
Rick Kingston
Pat Lambert
John Landers
Frank Leone
Ed Margherone
Hsueh-Wen (Teddy) Pao
Chuck Paone
Jim Rash
Ed Strickland
James Robert Teague
Alleen Thompson
Don West
Jack Williams Jr.
Steve Wilson


Ivan E Andreasen
Allen Breed
Richard Gerald (Jerry) Cochran
Richard Ferst
Homer Forbes
Aloyse F Gacs
Doug Gluntz
Chuck Hart
Charles Haywood
Bill Hess
Jerry Jacobson
Arnold Koslow
Robert Legate
Carl Lested
Bruce Mitchener
Richard Post
Frank Rally
Nick Scocca
Bob Sheppard
John Stewart
Marion Weiss
Dave Wilmer
Bernard S Zager


Beverly Audette
Dick Bauerle
George Billuris
Jose Casillas
Ken Clemens
Frank Cooke
Joseph H. Dabaghian
David Greene
Merrill Hall
Frank Herrick
Brian Jellison
Don Law
Milt Levenson
Rene Marchand
Pat Marrs
Jay Murray
John Perrault
George Roupe
George Roy
Bernard Rubin
Tony Schraub
Vicky Schroer
Paul Sick
George Skoda
Paul Sohn
Henry Stone
Marcia Summers
Jim Sweeney
Oskar Thurnher
Lilly Wilderman
Connie Woodward
Tang Wu
Mitsujiro Yamaguchi


Lawrence Nemeth
Gary Sozzi


Bob Lowton


This from Roger Baird


Nuclear Pioneers:

Here is the link to Takuya Hattori’s power point presentation on nuclear power plant construction “On Time and On Budget” originally attached to his email to me on October 4, 2020.



From Roger Baird


Greetings Nuclear Pioneers:

I just recently returned from a refreshing driving trip into Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota and since I haven’t communicated with you for several weeks this note will explain my absence in the form of a trip report. I say a refreshing trip because it was refreshing to pay $2.49 or $2.59 up to $2.79 per gallon for gasoline instead of the up to $4 encountered on my return to California. The lower prices per gallon were for gasoline with 10% or more of ethanol blended into the fuel because ethanol lowers the mileage per gallon burned. It was also refreshing to find un-congested highways in good condition with realistic speed limits that could be maintained consistently. In South Dakota I was surprised to find some sections of Interstate 90 and 29 that allowed 80 miles an hour speeds. But before I get carried away with my refreshed spirit please note that the population density of the Dakota’s and Nebraska are not representative of much of the rest of the country, and our driving was during the off season,18 – 30 September. But It was nice to enjoy the conditions of open and good roads, cheap gasoline (compared to California) and great weather.

My excursion to the heart land was in the company of my daughter Allison and her husband Dennis. Allison wanted to make a swing through the lands where my parents and grandparents spent their lives and pursed their livelihoods. She had visited most places during her childhood when Donna and I took both Allison and other daughter Andrea there on visits. However, this trip was for her to have a view of ancestral grounds and a narration from me of the personal history associated with these places. So, we flew into Omaha, rented a van, and were off the next day on a drive to Brooklyn, Iowa where my maternal grandparents, Homer and Mabel Carpenter, farmed the land and eventually retired into town in that farming community.  I also remember my great grandparents, Samuel and Mary Cathrine Ormiston, who came to Iowa from Ohio where they farmed and raised four children including my grandmother. My grandfather’s mother, my great grandmother, Adel Carpenter, was widowed and lived, when I knew her, with Homer and Mabel on the farm. Unfortunately all my direct descendants from the Brooklyn area are deceased or long gone so I have no more family contacts there. Only landmarks and memories remain.

Iowa is many things but it is predominantly cornfields, and more cornfields with some soy bean fields, hay and small grain fields interlaced with grain elevators, and plants for processing the the products of the land including cattle, hogs and ethanol. And there are two major transcontinental railroads traversing Iowa (and Nebraska) tying things together with their bands of steel and making connections to the other states and the nation. That is a major simplification of what we saw but when driving in those states one definitely will see a lot of grain fields and related agricultural activities. Eastern South Dakota and Nebraska also follow that pattern, and it seems to me more so now than 80 or 90 years ago because the farming practices have improved, and water is more available either through irrigation, land and water management or more rainfall. One major water management change has been the construction of the ‘Great Lakes of the Dakota’s” with the building of the series of flood control dams on the Missouri River through North and South Dakota. Those dams have had a significant  impact on the economy and the micro climates of the area.

The increased rainfall was particularly evident this fall as we encountered flooded roads, fields and even Interstate 29 just north of Omaha was closed because of flooding on the Missouri. I was totally surprised at the amount of water we saw in the rivers, creeks, lakes, ditches and fields as we traversed eastern South Dakota and Nebraska. It began last spring with the heavy snow melt and rain which delayed planting of crops, and now with a heavy rain in early September the areas are now beyond saturation. Harvesting will be delayed in many areas.

No visit to Omaha would be complete without checking out the Union Pacific Museum located across the Missouri River in Council Bluffs, Iowa. It was great 10 years ago and it is even better now as the 150th year since completion of the transcontinental railroad is celebrated this year. And by the way, there is no connection in Omaha to any of my life or ancestral highlights. Omaha is served by Southwest Airlines and was a convenient starting point for our driving trip. However, my interest in railroads gave Omaha a favored position as a starting point and we managed our itinerary as we headed to the Black Hills of South Dakota to include a stop at North Platte, Nebraska. Here the Union Pacific has constructed the worlds largest railroad classification yard and maintenance base. It’s known as the Bailey Yard and stretches for 8 miles with two big humps for sorting cars, a big locomotive maintenance shop, and car repairs for trains arriving from the several lines that converge in North Platte on the transcontinental routes from the West Coast to the connections at Chicago, St Louis, Kansas City and beyond. A viewing point known as the Golden Spike Tower provides a panoramic view of the 315 miles of track and the passing of up to 150 trains a day through the yard. The docents in the tower are generally retired from the railroad and provide first hand accounts of experiences and the details of what one observes in the busy yard as we look down on the constant motion. Its easy to get absorbed for a couple hours in railroad lore and lingo.

The next segment of the trip took us north into western South Dakota and a swing though the Badlands National Park where natural erosion of the local landscape by wind and rain have shaped peaks, gullies, buttes, and wide prairies. The park is within the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and the Oglala  Lakota Sioux jointly manage the Park. We marveled at the landscape, enjoyed talking with the locals, and had to give the right-of-way to a band of wild bison which claimed both sides of the road. Bison are big but not lovable so petting is not part of the action. The Indians would stampede them off a cliff in the area in order to harvest them for needed food and clothing. We finally made our way to Wall, SD at the end of the day and enjoyed dinner and a walk through world famous Wall Drug.

We planned a few days in the Black Hills of South Dakota where I spent most of three years while attending the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City to receive my EE degree after graduating two years earlier from Northern State University in Aberdeen with my Math degree. The Black Hills are a unique area of the world and the site of Mt Rushmore National Monument as well as many other attractions to entice vacationers in the summer months. We drove directly to Mt Rushmore from Wall on that Sunday morning to be inspired by the beautiful setting and carvings of the four great presidents of the United States on this granite mountain. It’s a sight all Americans should see.

Another site and sight to see is the carving in progress at the Crazy Horse Memorial on a nearby mountain where the head and extended arm of Crazy Horse are coming into view. We spent most of a day there where we met up with Brian Bohan and his wife Kim who own and operate a laser business in Fremont. We got to know Kim and Brian when they frequently visit her father who also lives at Acacia Creek with us. Amazingly, Brian and Kim have supplied the laser equipment used at Crazy Horse for the light show played on the mountain side every evening. We arranged to meet at Crazy Horse while they were there servicing their equipment and supporting the successful operation of the light show and the Crazy Horse concept in general. We were treated to an insiders view of operations of the laser show and met with Monique Ziolkowski, daughter of founder Korczak Ziolkowski, who is the CEO and Mountain Carving Director of Crazy Horse Memorial. We capped the day with a tour up the mountain and onto the extended arm of Crazy Horse where active carving is underway to form the arm and the horses mane and head below. We were at the 6500 foot level so were afforded a spectacular view of the surrounding Black Hills. The mountain provided a great setting for the evening laser show which we viewed from the veranda near the Orientation Center, the Indian Museum of North America, and the Laughing Water Restaurant. I had not visited this area for several years and was impressed with the progress of the mountain carving and the organization and facilities now present to facilitate reaching the goals of the Crazy Horse Foundation.

We crammed a visit to the School of Mines into the day we drove north of Rapid City and had lunch at the Knuckle Saloon in Sturgis (site of world famous annual motorcycle rally),  and visited Ft Meade(base for General George Custer’s Cavalry) , and the Black Hills National Cemetery. The geology museum at the School of Mines in Rapid City is a highlight attraction as it features the geology and the minerals and fossils found in the Hills and the Badlands. The University also boasts an active  paleontology laboratory for continued research on fossil remains. You will be greeted by the skeleton of a dinosaur as you enter the Museum with it’s source and history identified. Hot Springs, in the southern Hills area, is a hot spot for digging up the remains of woolly mammoths. Active digs and displays are interesting to see there.

On the day we left the Black Hills on our drive to Aberdeen we managed a look at the open cut of the Homestake Gold Mine in Lead while checking out the exhibits associated with the Deep Underground Research Laboratory located at the 4500 ft below ground level in the old Homestake underground gold mine where nutrino’s can be detected and other physics experiments conducted. Gold has played a prominent part in the history of the Black Hills and it’s discovery precipitated significant friction with the local Indian tribes who considered the area to be sacred.

As we drove across northwestern South Dakota we were impressed with the quantity of hay bales (actually large rolls), the herds of grazing cattle, fields of corn and sunflower plants, and the general appearance of productivity in the land. My recollection of the area was of prairie grass and rolling plains of ranch land but rather desolate and unpopulated. It still is not very populated but the agricultural bounty seemed much improved. It’s a 300 plus mile drive across SD but we arrived in Aberdeen, my home town, in time for a fine steak dinner at a favorite restaurant. I spent my first 21 years in Aberdeen so naturally there were many memories and highlights to point out to Allison. Both Donna and I graduated from Central High School and then in 1951 from Northern State University with our math degrees, Donna’s as her major in support of a teaching career and mine in preparation for an engineering degree. Growing up in Aberdeen was filled with eventful activities and influenced by the agricultural focus of the area and Aberdeen’s role as a retail and cultural center for northeastern South Dakota as well as a railroad hub. Because World War II was in full swing during my high school years I was able to step into a regular job on the railroad sorting and loading less than carload freight. This led to assignments on the passenger platform handling mail and baggage and servicing dining cars passing through Aberdeen. The seven years I spent working on the Chicago Milwaukee St Paul and Pacific Railroad solidified my interest in railroads but the declining economic vitality of railroads during that  period clearly indicated no future for me in that industry.

Baird roots in Aberdeen have essentially disappeared since no immediate family members and only one cousin remains there. However, my brother, sister and I donated 32 acres of our parents land in Aberdeen to the city to be developed as a city park. So there will be at least one marker that two generations of Baird’s were indeed proud and respectful of the opportunity to be educated and prosper as residents of Aberdeen, South Dakota for all or part of their life. Actually, the original Baird settlement in South Dakota was in Frankfort which is 40 miles south and 10 miles east of Aberdeen. This is where my grandfather Howard Baird arrived in a boxcar with his farming equipment from his origins near Decatur, Illinois to set up a dairy farm outside of Frankfort. My grandmother and a couple kids arrived a few days earlier by train into Redfield where they were met by her parents who had come to set up farming operations also. Howard and Ada Baird had 9 children before Ada died prematurely. I never met her. My Dad bolted from the dairy farm before he finished high school and came to the “big” city of Aberdeen where he graduated from business college and began his banking career. Allison and I tracked down my former homes and other points of interest including former railroad depots and tracks as well as the old and the new high school buildings. Lots of memories there. Donna also grew up in Aberdeen where her father was a locomotive engineer on the Milwaukee railroad. Her family and relatives have all departed and mostly expired from their lives in Aberdeen. I still have cousins in Frankfort, SD and in and near Sioux Falls which was our final stop on September 29th in this ancestral history quest.

In Sioux Falls we had dinner with seven of my cousins (from Uncle Clark) and a couple spouses. We see these cousins occasionally at reunions and when traveling through Sioux Falls but we didn’t have contact with them in our early years because of the distance and age differentials. I was close to my Frankfort cousins and their parents which is why while in Aberdeen we visited the prosperous Johnson farms near Frankfort, had snacks and lunch with four cousins (from Aunt Edna) and made a photo stop at the Frankfort graveyard where Grandfather Howard Baird and Ada are at rest. The rest of my cousins have dispersed to various distant locations or are deceased.

Switching the subject from my kin folks, we were able to make contact in Sioux Falls with Paul Van Buren. Some of you may remember Paul from his days as legal counsel in the nuclear business with GE. He has a town house in Sioux Falls in which his son, Erik, recently graduated from South Dakota University law school, is in residence.  Erik is now the Public Defender for Minnehaha County. We managed a couple hours visiting with Paul, his wife Karen, and Erik when we arrived in the early afternoon of September 29th. Paul and Karen visit South Dakota frequently but still maintain their primary residence in Los Altos, California. They enjoy the fruits of farm ownership near Sioux Falls…as in corn and ethanol.

So on the 30th day of September we drove from Sioux Falls to Omaha, skirted a flooded section of I-29 north of Omaha, checked out flooded sections of downtown Omaha, and flew back home via Las Vegas. Unfortunately our departure from Omaha was over three hours late so Allison and Dennis had to overnight in Las Vegas. My plane continued on to SJC so I was able to sleep in my own bed that night. It was a great 13 days in the mid-west reliving days of yore.

I am sure many of you have made similar excursions back to your roots so feel free to share your experiences with us.



From Roger Baird


Nuclear Pioneers:

The following article on the need for nuclear power is one of the items I have been hoping to get out to you. It’s a really good article which looks beyond the current high cost problems of getting nuclear power plants built. Those costs are real and must be solved. It would certainly help if we could get beyond all the first of a kind learning costs and start building fleets of reactors using proven modular construction and other cost saving construction techniques. I have been emphasizing to my friends that when the environmentalists realize the benefits of nuclear power, quit mandating the use of wind and solar exclusively, stop shutting down currently operating nuclear plants like Diablo Canyon and start promoting nuclear; then I will believe they are serious about doing something about global warming.

Thanks Steve Hucik for sending me a copy of the article which I can forward to you directly. Others have alerted me about the article and thank you.




From: Steven Hucik < >



Date: Mon, Jan 14, 2019
Subject: Nuclear Power Article from WSJ that our Nuclear Friends would enjoy
To: Roger Baird < >


I found this article in the Wall Street Journal the other day (In the print version 12-13 January 2019) and I thought it was a very good summary.  You might want to pass it on to your nuclear friends.

Only Nuclear Energy Can Save the Planet

Do the math on replacing fossil fuels: To move fast enough, the world needs to build lots of reactors.


Joshua S. Goldstein and  Staffan A. Qvist

Jan. 11, 2019 11:57 a.m. ET

Climate scientists tell us that the world must drastically cut its fossil fuel use in the next 30 years to stave off a potentially catastrophic tipping point for the planet. Confronting this challenge is a moral issue, but it’s also a math problem—and a big part of the solution has to be nuclear power.

Today, more than 80% of the world’s energy comes from fossil fuels, which are used to generate electricity, to heat buildings and to power car and airplane engines. Worse for the planet, the consumption of fossil fuels is growing quickly as poorer countries climb out of poverty and increase their energy use. Improving energy efficiency can reduce some of the burden, but it’s not nearly enough to offset growing demand.

Any serious effort to decarbonize the world economy will require, then, a great deal more clean energy, on the order of 100 trillion kilowatt-hours per year, by our calculations—roughly equivalent to today’s entire annual fossil-fuel usage. A key variable is speed. To reach the target within three decades, the world would have to add about 3.3 trillion more kilowatt-hours of clean energy every year.

Solar and wind power alone can’t scale up fast enough to generate the vast amounts of electricity that will be needed by midcentury, especially as we convert car engines and the like from fossil fuels to carbon-free energy sources. Even Germany’s concerted recent effort to add renewables—the most ambitious national effort so far—was nowhere near fast enough. A global increase in renewables at a rate matching Germany’s peak success would add about 0.7 trillion kilowatt-hours of clean electricity every year. That’s just over a fifth of the necessary 3.3 trillion annual target.

Most countries’ policies are shaped not by hard facts but by long-standing and widely shared phobias about radiation.

To put it another way, even if the world were as enthusiastic and technically capable as Germany at the height of its renewables buildup—and neither of these is even close to true in the great majority of countries—decarbonizing the world at that rate would take nearly 150 years.

Even if we could develop renewables much faster, huge problems would remain. Although costs have dropped dramatically for solar and wind energy, they are not a direct, reliable replacement for coal and gas. When the sun doesn’t shine or the wind doesn’t blow, little or no energy is collected. And when nature does cooperate, the energy is sometimes wasted because it can’t be stored affordably. Bill Gates, who has invested $1 billion in renewables, notes that “there’s no battery technology that’s even close to allowing us to take all of our energy from renewables.” If substantially expanded, wind, solar and hydropower also would destroy vast tracts of farmland and forest.

Fosmark is one of Sweden’s eight nuclear power reactors. The country repealed a ban on building new ones in 2010.

What the world needs is a carbon-free source of electricity that can be ramped up to massive scale very quickly and provide power reliably around the clock, regardless of weather conditions—all without expanding the total acreage devoted to electric generation. Nuclear power meets all of those requirements.

When Sweden and France built nuclear reactors to replace fossil fuel in the 1970s and 1980s, they were able to add new electricity production relative to their GDPs at five times Germany’s speed for renewables. Sweden’s carbon emissions dropped in half even as its electricity production doubled. Electricity prices in nuclear-powered France today are 55% of those in Germany.

So why isn’t everyone who is concerned about climate change getting behind nuclear power? Why isn’t the nuclear power industry in the U.S. and the world expanding to meet the rising demand for clean electricity? The key reason is that most countries’ policies are shaped not by hard facts but by long-standing and widely shared phobias about radiation.

Nuclear power is the safest form of energy by far, especially compared with coal, which continues to cause hundreds of thousands of premature deaths a year from air pollution in addition to contributing to climate change.

Reasons put forward to oppose nuclear power in no way stack up to the real dangers facing humanity from climate change.

Over six decades, nuclear power has experienced only one fatal accident, Chernobyl in 1986, which directly caused about 60 deaths and is blamed for thousands more over time from low-level radiation. That’s a serious accident, but other nonnuclear industrial accidents have been worse. A hydroelectric dam failure in China in 1975 killed tens of thousands, and the 1984 Bhopal gas leak at a Union Carbide plant in India killed 4,000 initially and an estimated 15,000 more over time. We don’t stigmatize those entire industries as a result.

The 1979 accident at Three Mile Island killed no one. In Japan in 2011, the fourth largest earthquake in recorded history and a 50-foot tsunami together took almost 20,000 lives—and damaged the Fukushima nuclear facility, which leaked radiation. Exposure during the incident contributed to one worker’s 2016 death, according to the Japanese government; the badly handled evacuation of the area, by contrast, is blamed for much hardship and many deaths.

Nuclear power is regulated as though any amount of radiation is extremely dangerous. Yet we all walk around in a soup of background radiation, giving us an average of about 3 millisieverts (mSv) per year but ranging up to 200 in some places, with no demonstrated harm. The occupational and medical recommendations are to stay below 50 per year. At Fukushima, only 12 individuals at the plant received more than 200 mSv, and nobody outside the plant exceeded 50. It’s possible to measure and track very low levels of radiation, but those levels are harmless.

Nor is nuclear waste the insurmountable problem that the public has been led to believe. The volumes are tiny, unlike the vast quantities of equally toxic waste from coal and other fuels. An American’s entire lifetime of electricity use powered by nuclear energy would produce an amount of long-term waste that fits in a soda can. All spent fuel from U.S. reactors over the past 60 years would fit on a football field, stacked 20 feet high. Today we store spent fuel at reactor sites in concrete casks (radiation does not escape the concrete) that will be safe for a hundred years. After that, the waste can be burned in reactors that are currently being designed, or it can be buried permanently.

All the reasons put forward to oppose nuclear power amount to over-hyped fears that in no way stack up to the real dangers facing humanity from climate change.

Nuclear power, if scaled up in a way that has already been shown possible, would easily compete on price with fuels that pollute far more. South Korea, which has built 10 of its reactors based on the same design, already produces nuclear power at or below fossil-fuel prices. Recent American and European efforts to build first-of-a-kind reactor designs in a hyper-regulated environment have led to large cost overruns and delays. But in the coming years, the world can build reactors centrally, at factories or shipyards, using standardized designs, and achieve costs below other fuels. We can create hundreds of reactors per year world-wide and meet the world’s enormous need for clean energy.

It is a win-win strategy, giving humanity its only viable path to stop a climate catastrophe while providing poorer countries with the energy they need to grow. It’s the only strategy that adds up.

—This essay is adapted from the authors’ new book, “A Bright Future: How Some Countries Have Solved Climate Change and the Rest Can Follow,” published by PublicAffairs. Mr. Goldstein is a professor emeritus of international relations at American University; Mr. Qvist is an energy engineer and consultant.

Best Regards,
Steven Hucik, PE


From Roger Baird


Geza Gyorey copied the Wall Street Journal article printed in the December 15-16, 2018 edition in the Exchange section entitled: “BURNED OUT”. it’s the sad story of why GE has been removed from the Dow Jones average where it had been as an original member since 1907, and why we have seen the stock value tumble into the single digits. It is indeed a sad story.

Geza copied the article into a Word document attached to this email. It’s a multi-page article as it also was in the Journal. I debated with myself as to whether I should send out such a bad news article but I found myself reading every word. Since many of you may have missed it, but still have a strong interest in the health of GE, I am sending it. Geza made it easy to forward. Thank you Geza.


The Article:

Wall Street Journal , December 15 2018 :  The GE Story

Burned Out


It was once America’s most valuable company, the maker of power turbines, jet engines, TV shows and MRI machines. Fueled by a relentless optimism, it made and remade itself countless times. This is the story of how General Electric lost power.

They came by the dozens

in luxury sedans, black Ubers and sleek helicopters. As they did each August, General Electric’s most important executives descended on a hilltop above the Hudson River for their annual leadership gathering. Just an hour’s drive from New York City or a short flight from Boston, Crotonville, N.Y., is the home of GE’s management academy, famed for culling and cultivating a cadre of leaders the company saw as its most valuable product.

Crotonville is where Jack Welch, GE’s larger-than-life former chief executive, held his lecture sessions in “The Pit,” a large sunken auditorium where he coached the future CEOs of companies such as Boeing and Home Depot. Welch remade and expanded the campus during his two decades running GE.

Opened in 1956, the 60-acre property is half conference center, half country retreat. Behind a guard house lolls a mix of low-slung brick residence halls, classroom buildings and restaurants, a fieldstone plaza with a fireplace, hiking trails and a helipad.

Welch and other GE bosses would visit nearly every month to lead programs for middle managers, customers and executives from other companies who wanted to learn the GE leadership magic. For the 300,000 people who work at GE, a trip to Crotonville is an ardent desire and a treasured accomplishment.

This pilgrimage in August 2017 was different. The stock price had been slumping, and longtime CEO Jeff Immelt had just stepped down after a frustratingly middling 16-year tenure. The new boss, John Flannery, had started a monthslong review of every corner of America’s last great industrial conglomerate.

On that summer afternoon, the auditorium buzzed with whispers of what was ahead. No one doubted the 125-year-old company’s ability to rise again. It always had.

Then Jeff Bornstein started talking.

The gruff, 52-year-old chief financial officer had lost out on the top job weeks earlier, but had committed to staying on to help the new CEO navigate the company’s complicated structure.

How General Electric Lost Power

Bornstein launched into an exhortation: Run the company like you own it. Be the leaders General Electric bred you to be. You should all be accountable for every prediction made and every target missed.

“I love this company,” he said. Then, he stopped and took a breath—deep and racked. He started again and stopped again. Jeff Bornstein, the shark-fishing, nicotine-gum chomping, weightlifting CFO, was crying.

A Maine native, Bornstein had come to GE after college, eventually serving as finance chief of the lending arm, GE Capital,

where he helped stave off the worst damage of the financial crisis.

His rivals within the company found him blunt to a fault, willing to chastise or demean in public and private. He served as a counterbalance to Immelt’s relentless optimism, and his finance chops brought him the respect of Wall Street.

If this guy was fighting back tears, something must be seriously wrong. In the first six months of 2017, GE had earned hardly any of the $12 billion in cash it projected for the year. It would need at least $8 billion just to cover the dividends it had promised stockholders.

The leadership meeting usually left executives refreshed, reassured that the foundation of GE’s success was not the power turbines or the jet engines so much as the people in that room, managers groomed in Crotonville who believed they could enter any industry, anywhere and dominate it.

Now, as they shuffled out after Bornstein’s talk, many felt shock and confusion. The reckoning had been a long time coming, and it was far from over. GE had defined and outlived the American Century, deftly navigating the shoals of depression, world war and the globalization of business. Even when things were at their worst, its belief in its history and its prowess made it feel titanic and impregnable. And, yet, unsinkable GE was taking on water fast.

GENERAL ELECTRIC CO. helped invent the world as we know it: wired up, plugged in and switched on. Born of Thomas Alva Edison’s ingenuity and John Pierpont Morgan’s audacity, GE built the dynamos that generated the electricity, the wires that carried it and the lightbulbs that burned it.

To keep the power and profits flowing day and night, GE connected neighborhoods with streetcars and cities with locomotives. It soon filled kitchens with ovens and toasters, living rooms with radios and TVs, bathrooms with curling irons and toothbrushes, and laundry rooms with washers and dryers.

The modern GE was built by Jack Welch, the youngest CEO and chairman in company history when he took over in 1981. He ran it for 20 years, becoming the rare CEO who was also a household name, praised for his strategic and operational mastery.

Welch, short, sharp and volatile, had an intense glare and a reedy growl that betrayed his blue-collar Massachusetts roots. He was obsessive about setting targets and hitting them. A chemical engineer by training, he once blew the roof off a GE factory.

He expressed disdain for GE’s bureaucracy from his earliest days there and later earned the nickname “Neutron Jack.” He eliminated some 100,000 jobs in his early years as CEO and insisted that managers fire the bottom 10% of performers each year who failed to improve, in a process that became known as “rank and yank.” GE’s financial results were so eye-popping that the strategy was imitated throughout American business.

“Fix it, close it or sell it’’ was a favorite slogan. Welch wanted to get out of any businesses where GE wasn’t a market leader.

At its peak, General Electric was the most valuable company in the U.S., worth nearly $600 billion in August 2000. That year, GE’s third of a million employees operated 150 factories in the U.S., and another 176 in 34 other countries. Its pension plan covered 485,000 people. With nearly 10 billion shares outstanding, GE was also among the most widely owned stocks. The company paid dividends to more than 600,000 accounts, from individual investors to major mutual funds that served millions.

GE had moved in and out of businesses since 1892: airplane engines, plastics, cannons, computers, MRI machines, oil-field drill bits, water-desalination units, television shows, movies, credit cards and insurance. The big machines were always GE’s beating heart. But it was a willingness to expand into growing businesses and shed weaker ones that helped make it the rare conglomerate to survive the mass extinction of its rivals.

The catalyst for GE’s success during Welch’s reign was that it worked more like a collection of businesses under the protection of a giant bank. As the financial sector came to drive more of the U.S. economy, GE Capital, the company’s finance arm, powered more of the company’s growth. At its height, Capital accounted for more than half of GE’s profits. It rivaled the biggest banks in the country, competed with Wall Street for the brightest M.B.A.s and employed hundreds of bankers.

GE Capital sucked in debt and spat out money. Created in the first half of the last century to help people buy home appliances, it now financed fast-food franchises, power plants and suburban McMansions, and leased out railroad tank cars, office buildings and airliners. The industrial spine of the company gave GE a AAA credit rating that allowed it to borrow money inexpensively, giving it an advantage over banks, which relied on deposits. The cash flowed up to headquarters where it powered the development of new jet engines and dividends for shareholders.

Capital also gave General Electric’s chief executives a handy, deep bucket of financial spackle with which to smooth over the cracks in quarterly earnings reports and keep Wall Street happy. Sometimes that meant peddling half a parking lot on the final day of a quarter, or selling a part interest in a power plant only to purchase it back after the quarter closed. Many Capital veterans relished their reputation as mavericks and cowboys, especially in comparison to their staid Wall Street rivals. They loved the story about Capital’s then-CEO Gary Wendt renting a camper and driving across Eastern Europe in the early 1990s, buying up still sleepy banks as the post-Communist era dawned. The rest of the decade saw explosive growth, helping drive Jack Welch’s fame into orbit. With shares trading above $150 in early 2000, Welch split the stock 3-for-1. It would prove to be a high-water mark. GE shares retreated in his final year after a failed takeover of rival Honeywell and the popping of the dot-com bubble. Still, GE shares were trading at 40 times its earnings when Welch retired in 2001, more than double where it had historically. And much of those profits were coming from deep within Capital, not the company’s factories.

Disaster hit immediately after Welch left. The Sept. 11 terrorist attacks—four days after his handpicked successor, Jeff Immelt, took over—hammered GE’s insurance businesses and grounded the airline industry. Immelt began revamping the Welch portfolio, selling off the plastics division and most of the insurance lines. He didn’t rein in the lending at Capital, which accounted for 38% of GE’s revenue in 2008.

When the financial crisis hit, Capital fell back to earth, taking GE’s share price and Immelt with it. The stock closed as low as $6.66 in March 2009. General Electric was on the brink of collapse. The market for short-term loans, the lifeblood of GE Capital, had frozen, and there was little in the way of deposits to fall back on. The Federal Reserve stepped in to save it after an emergency plea from Immelt.

After that, GE wasn’t regarded like its fellow industrial companies—big, slow-moving businesses that could project demand for their hulking machines over decades. Instead, the near-death experience taught investors to think of GE like a bank, a stock always vulnerable to another financial collapse.

Bank supervisors from the Federal Reserve moved into a suite of offices in Capital’s headquarters just off the Merritt Parkway in Norwalk, Conn. They hovered in meetings, demanding details on lending businesses that Capital staff worried the regulators didn’t understand or respect.

Immelt gritted his teeth at the name of Caroline Frawley, head of the Fed teams that patrolled the unit that spun out nearly half of GE’s profits.

“That woman,” he said at one point, “is not going to tell me how to run this company.” He wanted to be free to invest billions into developing a new jet engine without worrying about the government looking over his shoulder.

As the recovery slouched into the early part of this decade, a handful of top-ranking executives huddled here and there, always discreetly, to discuss their most obvious problem. GE couldn’t live without GE Capital, still so big it was essentially the nation’s seventh largest bank. But investors couldn’t live with GE Capital and its unshakable shadow of risk, either.

What if the GE Jack Welch built didn’t work any more?

GE might reap billions from selling Capital’s businesses, as well as the real estate, mortgages and other assets it owned, but that would create a gigantic tax bill. More importantly, the company would need a plan to replace the earnings Capital brought in each quarter.

Cracks in the performance of the company’s industrial lines—its power turbines, jet engines, locomotives and MRI machines—would now be plain to see, some executives worried, without Capital’s cash to help cover the weak quarters and pay the sacrosanct dividend. That dividend, doling out billions of dollars to shareholders, is one reason GE was owned by so many, with about 43% of its shares held by individual investors.

It was hard to see how the puzzle pieces could be made to fit. Immelt and Bornstein, the CEO known as Big Jeff and the CFO as Little Jeff, and a small group of trusted lieutenants, kept meeting.

Increasingly, Immelt worried about his legacy. He often reminded people that he kept the ship afloat after Sept. 11 and the financial crisis. But he also joked that his ability to ride out in a blaze of glory ended the day Lehman Brothers went bankrupt in September 2008.

Whittling away at Capital wasn’t enough. Immelt, trapped in Welch’s long shadow, craved a bold move to shock his company out of the doldrums that had plagued his tenure. It was time for GE to be reinvented again.

Jeff Immelt was on his way to the Winter Olympics in Russia in February 2014 when the GE jet made a stop in Paris for dinner. He had an invitation from Patrick Kron, his counterpart at the struggling French industrial conglomerate Alstom SA.

Kron was looking for a savior. Alstom, a maker of trains, rail equipment, power turbines and generators, was veering toward insolvency, signing up business at a loss just to keep money coming in the door. The beleaguered CEO had dined already with the chief executive of GE’s archrival, Siemens AG. In Immelt, Kron found a man spoiling for a big deal.

Just a few months earlier, the word had gone out to the merger teams embedded in each of GE’s industrial units: Headquarters wants your biggest targets.

Alstom was one of the expensive deals Immelt focused on as the two CEOs chatted into the night in Paris. After dinner in France, Immelt stopped in Helsinki to consider another target, Wartsila, a Finnish builder of marine engines, oil-and-gas equipment and power plants. Another potential deal, dubbed Project Lion, came from GE’s oil-and-gas unit. Still, not long after the restaurant bill was paid, momentum was building for a bid on Alstom. The only question was how much Immelt would be willing to pay.

Some GE directors and advisers were wary. Immelt’s determination to complete a blockbuster reflected his customary optimism, a trait that had led him to overpay in the past, and one the succession team warned the board about before it picked him as CEO.

Hardworking and affable, Immelt was 6-foot-4 with a mane of graying hair swept back from the temples. He moved easily through crowds and possessed the practiced eye contact of apolitician. He was quick to chuckle and usually had a joke to tell, even if it often was one he’d already told.

Former colleagues compared him to Bill Clinton because of his magnetic ability to hold the focus of a room. He sounded like a leader. He was a natural salesman.

Immelt, an Ohio native who played football at Dartmouth, came to GE out of Harvard Business School. He changed jobs often, working in the plastics division before eventually running the health-care unit. Immelt was 44 years old when he won a bruising and public succession contest set up by Welch, beating out two men who would later lead Home Depot, Chrysler, 3M and Boeing. Welch advised him to carve his own path, and Immelt’s decision was to take a gentler tack. Welch was known to put his arm around an executive who just missed his numbers, tell him he loved him and if it happened again, he was out. Immelt could lean on executives and their underlings just as hard, cajoling and challenging, but he discouraged dissent by applauding optimistic news. Welch, the engineer, was likely to quiz a manager about details—why are the numbers down at your plant—where Immelt dealt in broader strokes. He embraced his background in sales. A presentation at any GE meeting was called “a pitch” and ideas for new businesses were “imagination breakthroughs.” Decisions had to fit with the “story” of the company and where it was going.

Immelt was so confident in GE’s managerial excellence that he projected a sunny vision for the company’s future that didn’t always match reality. He was aware of the challenges, but he wanted his people to feel like they were playing for a winning team. That often left Immelt, in the words of one GE insider, trying to market himself out of a math problem.

For the month or so after the dinner with Kron, a team of GE merger specialists set about trying to make the math for the Alstom deal work.

Executives at GE Power knew Alstom well, having given it an appraising sniff two years earlier. They found a company then too troubled to take a run at: Alstom was in greater need of cash than the market understood, had too many employees and French law made it too difficult to lay off workers and sell assets.

Alstom’s problems hadn’t gone away, but now its stock was cheaper, and Immelt saw the makings of a deal that fit perfectly with his vision for reshaping his company. GE would essentially swap Capital, the cash engine that no longer made sense, for a new one that could churn out profits each quarter in the reliable way that industrial companies were supposed to.

At the time of GE’s 2014 shareholder meeting in April, Alstom executives flew to a hotel near the venue in Chicago to talk. To the dismay of some involved, GE’s bid crept upward, from the €30 a share that the power division’s deal team already believed was too high, to roughly €34, or almost $47. Immelt and Kron met one-on-one, and the deal team realized the game was over. The principals had shaken hands.

Immelt knew Alstom had its problems but hoped to show off the management prowess on which GE prided itself. The French company had a large collection of power plants that GE would run more efficiently and a flabby global workforce that GE would slash.

News of the deal leaked hours after the shareholder meeting was over. Valued at $17 billion, the acquisition would be GE’s largest ever and the first move in the one-two combination that Immelt thought would revive his company and set his legacy.

the approximate price Immelt agreed to pay for the Alstom deal. Some at GE thought the price was too high.

If you’d bought $100 worth of GE stock in the beginning of 1980, it would have been worth $10,670.59 at its peak on Aug. 28, 2000, and $2,237.99 today.

GE Capital gave executives a bucket of financial spackle with which to smooth over the cracks in earnings reports.

Jeff Immelt often reminded people that he kept the ship afloat after the Sept. 11 attacks and the financial crisis.

Jack Welch, then chairman and CEO, in 1988. He ran the company for 20 years, beginning in 1981, and became a household name..



From Roger Baird


Nuclear Pioneers:

The comments, responses and remembrances of you nuclear pioneers are always of interest. Thanks for sharing them with us.



Pat Marriott added some history about GE’s decommissioning experience and confirmed that Shippingport decommissioning was indeed a milestone event.

On 12/11/2018 7:26 PM, Roger Baird wrote:

Actually GE’s first major decommissioning project was the complete dismantling and restoration to it’s original green state of the Shippingport Nuclear Plant.  As I recall, It was a milestone event.

You bet it was a milestone event.  We fought like hell for this low-margin DOE project with our partner Morrison-Knudsen and won over several other bidders, all the big names in the industry.  I was the proposal manager and the late, great Frank Crimi was the project manager.  We took the nation’s first “Atoms for Peace” commercial nuclear power plant down to green grass without a hitch and with very little notice in public media.  Then Jack Welch declared we weren’t going to be in the decommissioning business after all.  Now we seem to be back in with a vengeance.  There was never a business like ours in which what goes around comes around so much.  Sigh . . . makes me feel like an old man.  Well, duh . . . I should!  Pat Marriott.

Pat Marriott also made a tribute to the memory of Henry Stone:

Henry was both a personal friend and a mentor to me in mid-career.  A gentle intellectual giant and a beautiful person.  My favorite Henry story comes from April 1979, right after the Three Mile Island accident.  All of the reactor vendors pitched in with technical support while the utility was wrestling to bring the unit to steady state.  Henry and Neil Felmus put me in charge of the GE support effort, and more or less wrote me a blank check to give all the help we could.  Henry wanted to be briefed every day on the status, and a few days after the accident, I mentioned that no one in the industry knew of a computer code that would predict the core delta-T after they finally succeeded in achieving natural circulation.  Henry came in on Sunday with his steam tables and a slide rule, made the calculation by hand, and wrote me out a 2-page memo long-hand.  When they finally achieved natural circulation, the core delta-T was 0.5 degrees different from Henry’s calculation.  (I suspect the slight difference was due to their instruments.)  I framed the memo and it hung in my office for years.  I still have it someplace.  Pat Marriott.


Tony James remembers Frank Cooke:

Thanks for the message regarding Frank Cooke. I too saw his obit in today’s (12/15) Mercury News and was saddened. Frank was my tech leader when I joined APED in early 1967 and I worked with him on-and-off right through the early-1990s. He was very much an engineer’s engineer. He moved to San Jose with GE in 1955 and he was a key member of the core of GE guys who got so much right in the early days of the BWR. There cannot be many of those early pioneers who are still with us.

Tony James

Roger Palmer went into his memory bank on PRISM:

A little more from my aging memory on PRISM ………….

As I recall, Ben Blumberg conceptualized the small reactor concept on his own in the late 1980’s.

When Bill Craig decided it was time to describe it to DOE, I arranged a lunch for Ben, myself, and Shelby Brewer who was then in charge of nuclear development at DOE.

Ben was successful and PRISM was funded.

Soon thereafter, Ben retired to Tennessee and I believe he passed away about fifteen years ago.

Thanks for the sometimes sad, but always informative and enjoyable updates.

Regards,  Roger

And Costas Spalaris adds:

Let us not forget Eric Lowen’s  Prism presentation at the Dresden meeting 4 years ago. At that time he gave yet another interpretation of the Prism acronym. Here it is:  Power Reactor Inherently Safe Modular. He gave credit to Sam Armijo for the acronym. And Yes, it was Ben Blumberg who initiated the concept at the very end of the Clinch River project. At the time, I told Ben that fast reactors were Politically Incorrect at DOE and chances for GE getting funds were near zero… Well, that shows you that even Greeks can be wrong!!!. Our late great Nuclear Pioneer Chuck Boardman  received the Walker Cisler (sp?) ANS award for doing so well in engineering the Prism and especially the details for its steam generator.

George Stathakis forgot to mention the there was a predecessor to Roy Beaton heading up the Nuclear Division, his name was Gene Schubert… some of us could just as well forget that Specific Interval of Nuclear Division.


From Roger Baird –
Wed Dec 11, 2018
Dear Nuclear Pioneers:
GEH plans acquire a decommissioning firm according to the news as copied below. So, if we can’t build them maybe we can tear them down? Actually GE’s first major decommissioning project was the complete dismanteling and restoration to it’s original green state of the Shippingport Nuclear Plant.As I recall, It was a milestone event. Thanks to Steve Hucik and Costas Spalaris for noting this development. GEH is currently dismanteling the Oskarshamm Nuclear Plant in Sweden.
Also included below are a couple items with some history from George Stathakis and a little more on PRISM from Bob Berglund which you may find of interest.

GE Hitachi Plans To Acquire Nuclear Decommissioning Firm

By Christina Haley O’Neal, posted Dec 10, 2018 

Greater Wilmington Business Journal (N.C.) (12/10)

GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy has announced its intent to acquire Columbia, South Carolina-based REI Nuclear LLC, a decommissioning technology and tooling design firm, according to a news release Monday.

The acquisition, the details of which were not disclosed, is expected to contain REI Nuclear’s business and certain assets. The sale, subject to ongoing discussions, is expected to close by the end of the year, stated the release.

“We are a global business with staff and resources across the world. The acquisition we announced today strengthens the technology capability of our business which is managed from our Wilmington headquarters,” said Jon Allen, spokesman for GE Hitachi, in an email.

REI Nuclear specializes in nuclear facility decommissioning and dismantlement (D&D) projects, including activities such as preliminary design, project management, technical support and waste management.

“The acquisition strengthens our supply chain in the rapidly emerging global D&D segment,” Allen said in his email. “Decommissioning is rapidly emerging in the U.S. and Europe, and through this acquisition, we are positioning ourselves to be a leader in decommissioning projects worldwide.”

With the acquisition, plans are for the REI Nuclear’s structure to remain the same, Allen said. Management of REI Nuclear, however, will transfer to Wilmington, while other resources will remain at REI’s location in South Carolina.

GE Hitachi has used REI Nuclear technology for projects, including the ongoing dismantling project at the Oskarshamn Nuclear Power Plant near Oskarshamn, Sweden, officials said in the release.

GE Hitachi announced the awarding of the three-year Swedish decommissioning contract in early 2017, which includes dismantling two of two nuclear reactors at the power plant. The contract will continue through 2019, stated the release.

“The combination of the decades of decommissioning know-how of GEH and REI Nuclear has proven to be a highly successful project team,” said Grant Phillips, CFO of REI Nuclear, in the release. “We could not be more pleased to continue supporting GEH in nuclear plant decommissioning projects.”

As part of its business, GE Hitachi offers D&D project services.

“With REI Nuclear’s technical and project planning expertise, we will be able to increase value for our customers by further strengthening the planning and field execution of decommissioning projects,” said Lance Hall, executive vice president of GE Hitachi, said in the release.

The acquisition would further GE Hitachi’s support for customers throughout the nuclear power plant lifecycle, Hall added.

The acquisition does not include REI Nuclear’s subsidiary, REI Nuclear Europe Limited, Allen said. REI Nuclear Europe Limited was formed in 2015 in the United Kingdom, according to REI Nuclear’s website.
I thought a little history might be of interest. Dave Kunsemiller wanted to be reminded of what the acronym PRISM stood for.

I responded with what I found on Google as follows:

“PRISM (Power Reactor Innovative Small Module, sometimes S-PRISM from SuperPRISM) is the name of a nuclear power plant design by GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH). … S-PRISM is a commercial implementation of the Integral Fast Reactor developed by Argonne National Laboratory between 1984 and 1994.”
Bob Berglund confirmed this and added: ” Google is correct of the long name for Prism. It was named by the GE design team early in the process.  Prism became the single DOE advanced design after two competitions. The GE Team won both. There are a lot of technical differences in the S-Prism (design came after the DOE contract ended) and the IFR.”

Bob’s memory cells became further activated as follows:
” A little more on the history of PRISM. The initial commercial design concepts were worked on by Ben Blumberg in the Marketing group about the time of the Clinch River Project demise. We were looking for a radical approach for a sodium cooled fast reactor to take to DOE for funding. We had some VCR tapes produced early on describing the concept. I think I still have one and will have to look for it. Part of our motive to push the new modular concept was to save the jobs of the Clinch River designers as that project was winding down and to restart a FBR design which answered a lot of technical and commercial issues.”



And finally some history from George Stathakis who noted my recalling his tenure in the early days of the nuclear business in San Jose:
“I was rummaging through some old E-mails recently when I came across one that you wrote on the occasion of Jim Sweeney’s passing.  I thought it might be worthwhile to clarify some of the history.  As it turns out I lost all records, scrap books, etc. in the great Napa Fire of Oct. 2017 and so I am recalling from memory as there is no written record.”
“You’re right. I succeeded George White as general manager of the old Atomic Power Equipment Department when George left the Company in 1967.  Two years later I succeeded Jim Young as Vice- President and general Manager of the Nuclear Energy Division which included APED, the Nuclear Fuel Department, the Vallecitos Lab  as well as GE’s reprocessing activity mainly at Hanford.”
This arrangement continued until late 1977 when I was transferred to GE’s headquarters in Conn.  At that point the nuclear business was, I recall, taken over by Roy Beaton.
I hope this is helpful to you.
Best regards,


Dear Nuclear Pioneers:

1st Quarter 2018
From Roger Baird…

We are sorry to report that the cycle of life has been completed for several of our Nuclear Pioneers:

Beverly Audette

Don Murray

Tony Schraub


Dear Nuclear Pioneers:
January 12th, 2018   11:55 PM PDT
From Roger Baird…

It is sad to report the death sentence for Diablo Canyon. Copied below are two reports, one from the San Francisco Chronicle and one from the Washington Examiner. California is apparently ready to walk in the path Germany has chosen…no nuclear power plants. It isn’t likely that California will build any coal fired plants in the future like Germany is doing because they precipitously closed half of their nuclear capacity before they had sufficient renewable energy to meet their needs. Germany appears to be a special case and it is hard to believe what they have done to themselves in the name of environmentalism. They are scaling back their carbon reduction goals as reported below. The message to California is to move carefully and thoughtfully in implementing carbon reduction goals using wind and solar as the major source of electrical energy generation.

Australia, like California has banned the construction of any new nuclear power plants. Also copied below is an article from the Sydney Morning Herald which describes some of the discussion on that subject.



Dear Nuclear Pioneers:

June 18th, 2016   9:33 PM PDT

From Roger Baird…

I didn’t mean to trigger more death notices but it is what it is for our age group. No sooner did I send my last bad news email but Henry Stone sent out the bad news about Sherm Naymark’s heart attack. Sherm truly trod the path of a nuclear pioneer beginning with the birth of the Nuclear Navy under Admiral Rickover before he moved on to nuclear power for civilian applications with GE and then with Quadrex where Sherm was the surviving partner in the Quad. I am sure we will see an obituary and tributes in the following days. I think I can accurately say that Sherm attended nearly all of our Nuclear Pioneer Reunions including this last one just a few short months ago. I took great pleasure in introducing Sherm, and Henry, for their early pioneering work.

Henry sent this email at 4:25 this afternoon, “It is with great sorrow that I need to inform you that Betty Naymark told me that Sherm passed away this morning (June 18) due to a heart attack.Needless to say that we lost a key pioneer and contributor to Nuclear Energy and to our Society, whose footprints are a legacy and impossible to fill.” Henry.

Then Jerry Robertson forwarded the obituary of Bonnie Streitz he found in the East Bay Times as copied below. Jerry remembered her at Vallecitos, “When I first arrived at Vallecitos in the early 60’s Bonnie was a secretary and key employee of the RML (Radioactive Materials Lab).  I lost track of Bonnie when I moved to San Jose in the 70’s but perhaps Bob Darmitzel can add some more information. Jerry”.

Cheryl Thomas followed up with information on Fern Brammer’s services and contact information on Hal.

“Roger, Mom’s (Fern Brammer) service will be Sunday June 26th at 1:00 at King of Glory Lutheran Church in Boise, ID. If anyone wants to talk to Dad (Hal) his phone is 208-887-5606. His address is 3449 N. Larkwood Pl. , Meridian, ID 83646. He does not want to place an obituary, but in lieu of flowers donations can be made to the King of Glory Endowment Fund or to the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation. Cheryl.”

And so it goes. That is enough information of this type for today. I will followup on more nuclear news and information in the following days.



East Bay Times – 06/17/2016 – B01

Bonita “Bonnie” Streitz Dec. 7, 1930 – May 25, 2016 Resident of PleasantonBonita Jean (Bonnie) Streitz passed away peacefully at home on Wednesday May 25th surrounded by her family. Born in Seattle, WA, she moved to Livermore as a young girl where she graduated from Livermore High School in 1948 and married Donald Streitz in 1949. Later, she enjoyed a 38 year career with GE – Vallecitos.Bonnie loved her cats, enjoyed knitting scarves for family and friends and watching Giants and 49ers games. She took enormous pride in being a homeowner for almost 40 years and loved being at home.Bonnie is survived by her devoted children Steven of Sun City, CA, Kay of Oakland and Dana Ford! of Danville; granddaughter Phaedra Wilson and greatgrandchildren Alexander; and Isabella of New Brighton MN. She is also survived by her brother-inlaw Robert Streitz of Elk Grove and cousin John Wesseling of Council ID. Her grace and generous spirit will be missed by all who knew her.She will be laid to rest at Memory Gardens in Livermore next to her mother, Opal Wheeler.

Donations may be made to Tri-Valley Animal Rescue of Pleasanton.


June 18th, 2016   5:03PM PDT

From Roger Baird…

Its catch-up time after a 15 day trip to take the train across Canada. More on that later but first:

On June 7, Jack Restrick advised us of the death of Jim Mitchell as follows:

“I regret to inform you that Jim Mitchell died on the night of May 31 after a long series of brain tumors and related surgeries. Jim was chief financial officer of the Nuclear business for about 4 years at the end of the 80’s. He left nuclear to become Vice President and GM of a GE distribution business headquartered in Atlanta. Jim and I served together in the power delivery business in the late 70’s and became good friends. I hope you will let the nuclear family know of his passing. Thanks, Jack”

And just yesterday (June 17), Hal Brammer’s daugher Cheryl Thomas emailed us that “Dad asked me to let you know that His wife, my mom Fern Brammer passed away on Wednesday June 15 from Pulmonary Fibrosis. We don’t have a date for the service yet. She was 84″. Hal and Fern took up residence in Meridian, Idaho after retirement from GE and Hal promptly built a new house which they proudly showed us when we visited them on one of our driving trips.

I didn’t personally know Golda Miller but Leo Steinert spoke highly of her when she worked with him. I noticed her obituary in the Mercury today and I included it below. Golda attended at least one of our Nuclear Pioneer Reunions and was known to some of you from her years at GE.

An article from today’s (June 18) Mercury News reports the startup of the Watts Bar nuclear power plant. Bill Elhoff was nice enough to spot the article and sent it along in an email which I copied as follows: ———————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

U.S. powers up first new nuclear reactor in years

By Chris Mooney

Washington Post

SPRING CITY, Tenn. — In an immaculate control room at the Watts Bar nuclear plant, green bars flash on a large screen, signaling something that has not happened in the United States in two decades. As control rods lift from the water in the core, and neutrons go about the business of splitting uranium atoms, life comes to a new nuclear reactor — the first in the country since its sister reactor here was licensed in 1996. By summer’s end, authorities expect the new reactor at this complex along the Chickamauga Reservoir, a dammed section of the Tennessee River extending northward from Chattanooga, to steadily generate enough electricity to power 650,000 homes.Although the opening of a new nuclear facility used to draw protesters and angry rhetoric, Watts Bar has been mostly welcomed by local residents — and even some advocates concerned about climate change.

“Watts Bar coming online is indicative of where … many in the climate community have said we need to go, which is to continue to use nuclear, along with renewable sources like solar and wind, to provide more zero emissions electricity,” said Josh Freed, vice president of clean energy for Third Way, a centrist think tank.

A group of influential climate scientists, led by former NASA researcher James Hansen, has recently made a strong push for nuclear, arguing that the energy source “will make the difference between the world missing crucial climate targets or achieving them.” But while nuclear reactors account for the lion’s share of the carbon-free electricity generated in the U.S.(60%), the industry faces this new set of circumstances in a state of near-crisis. A combination of very cheap natural gas and deregulated energy markets in some states has led to a growing number of plant closures in recent years.

Even as Watts Bar engineers and planners busily tested their new reactor, Exelon, the nation’s biggest utility for nuclear, with 23 reactors, announced that it would be closing two plants in Illinois, citing financial losses and the state’s failure to pass energy legislation that would help support nuclear plants.

“We are supposed to be adding zero-carbon sources, not subtracting, or simply replacing, to just kind of tread water,” said U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz recently — before the Exelon news drove the point further home.

The turn for the industry could represent bad news for U.S. carbon emissions: As more plants shut down, and with wind and solar not yet able to offset the electricity- generating capacity of nuclear, emissions could actually increase in certain regions.

Yet even if the country decided tomorrow to recommit to nuclear power plants in the name of climate change, it would still take many years to build more of them. They also would be difficult to finance in many electricity markets. Watts Bar 2, the plant’s second reactor, is nothing if not a symbol of the travails involved in getting massive nuclear plants running — it was originally permitted in the 1970s, but construction halted in 1985.


John Skarpelos also forwarded the link to a Bloomberg article dated June 10th which describes the threat to nuclear power by market forces and short-sighted public policy which values wind and solar energy ahead of nuclear with subsidies and preferential mandates. It also indicates that states can recognize the  value of nuclear power by including it in their goals for clean-energy generation. “The case for nuclear power rests on its unmatched capacity to provide energy that is dependable, affordable and, above all, clean.” Click on it below.



Golda Miller

1925 – 2016 Obituary

Golda Miller March 16, 1925 – June 1, 2016 Resident of San Jose Golda Miller, at the age of 91, passed away at Valley Medical Hospital on June 1st. She was born on March 16, 1925 in Harbin, China to Hemia and Fania Galperin. Golda, her sister Sonia and parents moved to Shanghai where she attended Cambridge Schools. At the age of 19, Golda went to San Francisco to study at City College and start her career.  In San Francisco, she met and married Isaac Miller, also from Shanghai and later moved to San Jose where she worked for GE, while Isaac worked for IBM. They hosted family and friends at frequent parties at their home, traveled the world, participated in athletic and gourmet clubs and gave generously to causes they believed in. When Isaac passed away in 1987, Golda devoted herself to family and other favorite passions. As a promoter of the arts, she volunteered as a docent at the Beethoven Society and supported young musicians in the Santa Clara Valley. She also volunteered for many years at the Village House in Los Gatos where she made deep and lasting friendships. She loved attending the Symphony, the theater, cooking for friends, her dog Paige, the flowers in her garden and shopping at Trader Joe’s.  She was a fierce defender of Democratic presidents and was not shy in giving her opinions. She played bridge for many years, winning many tournaments and was the last of her group to pass (as promised, a deck of cards was placed in her casket). Golda is known for her friendship, generosity and hospitality. Everyone was always welcome at Golda’s table, no matter your race, religion or sexual orientation. Golda is survived by her adopted daughter, step-daughter, niece and nephew. She was blessed with seven grandchildren, fourteen great-grandchildren, a grand-nephew and a grand-niece. She loved them all dearly. Golda touched and changed the lives of many and will be greatly missed.  Services will be held at Temple Emanu-El on June 26th at 10:30 AM. The Temple is located at 1010 University Ave., San Jose, CA. View the online memorial for Golda Miller

Published in San Jose Mercury News/San Mateo County Times on June 11, 2016


May 29th, 2016

From Roger Baird…

In this mornings San Jose Mercury-News was an obituary for Bernard Levine copied below. It mentions his 35 years with GE in Quality Assurance. Some of you may have a fuller remembrance of Bernie so send it along.

You may remember my request for further information on the life of Harvey Wyckoff because of the sparse obituary published in the Merc. Roger Palmer responded like a real champ on May 14th with the following on Harvey:

“In the early 1970’s, Harvey Wyckoff worked for Commonwealth Edison in Chicago and was assigned to work with me in California on a study regarding the incentives for developing the LMFBR. The highlight of our efforts was our joint presentation to the AEC commissioners including Dixie Lee Ray.

I recall many trips with Harvey visiting consultants and other nuclear experts.  In those days, jet engine problems were common, and Harvey and I laughed about them several times after we were safely on the ground.  Speaking of laughing, Harvey told me several stories that I have retold many times over the years.  One that I’ll always remember was:

When Harvey was young with a family and living in Chicago, he wanted to reduce their winter heating bill.  He decided to try partially closing the main gas valve to their furnace.  The idea was that with a smaller flame, less heat would be wasted up the flue.  As Harvey told it, he came down with the flu (not the flue) soon after partially closing the valve.  Being ill, he then slept for at least a day, probably longer.  When he first awakened, his doctor was sitting next to his bed and his family, wife and kids, were standing, worried, at the foot of his bed.  They all had something in common.  They were all wearing heavy coats, gloves and winter hats.  They were cold, very cold.  Harvey had closed the valve a little too much!  As he told it, he crawled out of bed and opened the valve so that the house would be properly heated again.

After our LMFBR efforts concluded, Harvey decided stay in the bay area and joined EPRI.  When I retired in 1990, I had lunch with Harvey and he was still enthusiastic about his efforts at EPRI.  Enthusiasm was contagious around Harvey.  I last talked to Harvey about ten years ago.  After our lunch, I had made it a point to call him every year in December, just before Christmas.  I recall that during my last call, he had said that he had just nearly died from a blood infection.  After that, I found it difficult to reach Harvey.  Glad to hear that he lived another ten years.

I believe Bob Williams also worked at EPRI and I’ve copied him with this email.  Perhaps he or others from EPRI, that Bob knows, can add to my pleasant memories of Harvey.

Thanks again,

Roger P

Thank you, Roger P. for this great response. As I recall Harvey attended the 2015 reunion but didn’t seem to be feeling well and remarked this would be his last. It was.


In response to the Reunion announcement this year, some of you send along some interesting tidbits which I will attempt to summarize below. In addition I get an annual phone call from Alleen Thompson who lives in Waterville, Maine. Alleen established the original library at APED during the early years of the nuclear business when we had access to classified government documents and required secure handling. She still has friends in this area, like Elsie Catalano, so she always wants to be remembered even though she can’t attend. She is well into her 90’s but remains active attending community functions and in particular at Colby college.

Harvey Brush, retired Bechtel VP, also calls occasionally to keep in contact. He lives in Austin, Texas. We have a mutual interest in the railroad industry as well as nuclear. He has ridden in more private rail cars with his friends than I knew existed. However, his macular degeneration has slowed him down a bit. I always enjoy Harvey’s calls.

Henri DuBois sent a note March 21st from his home in Madrid, Spain wishing all his friends his best regards. “I’m going to be 92 soon and my legs and lungs are not well enough for such a journey to my beloved California “. Henri was a regular attendee at our reunions until just last year and we will miss his presence.

George Roy responded from his home in Chico,CA in a note dated March 10 “Thinking of You…My Nuclear Comrades. Your invitation was received with joy. However, my longest trip these days if from ‘here’ to the bedroom.(91 years old). I regret not being able to celebrate with my many nuclear buddies. Best regards, George.” We have visited George periodically over the years in Chico. He has written published several books and his latest is “WISE UP KIDS, PURSUE YOUR OWN HAPPINESS”, which he wrote for his children and grandchildren. We think he had some good advice effectively written so we sent copies to our daughters and grandchildren also. A subtitle is “IF IT IS TO BE, IT IS UP TO ME”. I think it’s available on Amazon but it may be out of stock by now.

I enjoy periodically hearing from Mary Ann McIntosh-Scully. She and her husband Thomas live in El Paso, TX. She is the daughter of William Wallace (Wally) McIntosh who died 23 March 2008. She wrote, “I’m glad that he did not live to see what happened to Fukushima”. As I recall, Wally was GE’s project manager on the original units. By the way, Mary Ann, my grandson, Andrew James, just completed his basic and calvery scout Army training and has been assigned to report to Ft Bliss, TX which I note is adjacent to El Paso. We have never met you or Tom so if we get a chance, while visiting my grandson later this summer, we would enjoy giving you a call for lunch if that is possible. I knew and respected your Dad very much. I hope a visit will happen.

I think that is enough information in one email so I will save more until later.



Bernard Levine August 17, 1931 – May 18, 2016 Resident of San Jose Bernard died peacefully with his children by his side. He was born in Bronx, NY. He graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He spent 35 years with GE in Quality Assurance. He enjoyed traveling all over the world during his retirement. He was predeceased by his mother Gertrude, his brother Martin and his former wife Dorothy. He is survived by his children, Carol (John), Andrew, Deborah (Barry) and his six grandchildren. Services have been held and he is interred at Oak Hill Memorial.
Published in San Jose Mercury News/San Mateo County Times on May 29, 2016