After World War II, our nation made a commitment to harness the energy of the atom to produce nuclear power. This bold effort was led by the U.S. Navy with the objective of developing a nuclear power plant for use in submarines. Admiral H.G. Rickover, the naval officer in charge of the nuclear power program, selected the best engineers he could find from the Manhattan Project, the Navy, and industry to overcome the many challenges that the program would face.
This group of engineers had to tackle daunting technical challenges, such as finding materials to encase the nuclear fuel and ways to shield operators from radiation. In addition, they had to produce fundamental changes in industry to achieve previously unknown levels of quality. The highly successful Navy nuclear power program paved the way for the commercial use of nuclear power to produce electricity worldwide.
Three of Admiral Rickover's select engineers rose to the top of his Navy nuclear power organization. Harry Mandil was in charge of business, working with industry to make the far-reaching changes needed to radically improve quality. Bob Panoff was the project manager in charge of building submarine nuclear power plants. Ted Rockwell was in charge of significant technical issues; he developed the world's first guidelines for radiation shielding. After 15-plus years with Admiral Rickover, guiding the successful development and implementation of nuclear power for submarines and the first application of commercial nuclear power at the Shippingport Nuclear Power Plant, Mandil, Panoff, and Rockwell created MPR in 1964, delivering this same innovation, technical rigor, business integrity, and leadership to the world of commercial engineering.