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I transcribed program produced by Purdue University under a grant from the Educational Television Radio Center in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters. The day's program written and produced by Bob McMahon bears the title the international atom friends. We will. Be with. We forget sometimes that the action is truly international. It knows no nationality race or ideology. The Atom only knows one Santa Clause and that is the laws of physics and man's mastery over the atoms is directly proportional to his comprehension of these laws. The real top secrets in the atomic energy are those that are still held by nature also which nature has released are generally known throughout the world.
That was Gordon Dean former chairman of the United States Atomic Energy Commission speaking. Sometimes we do forget in speaking about the atom that under no circumstances can it be said that the atom as a native born American. Of course scientists in this country were doing important research in this field at the same time as others in all parts of the world. The first sustained and controlled nuclear reaction did take place in the United States. But many vital discoveries in the field of atomic fission came to us from outside our borders. It was January 16th 1939 when Neil swore the eminent Danish physicist arrived in New York with the news that two scientists and Nazi Germany. Han and Strawson had split the uranium atom. Up until that time the care and development of the atom have been in the hands of such competent Europeans as one Becker wrote a French physicist who discovered radioactivity in 1896.
We haven't Marie Curie of France but discover the radioactive element radium an eight hundred ninety eight Ernest Rutherford of England who developed the theory of the nature of radioactivity in one thousand two. Albert Einstein of Germany who developed the theory of the equivalence of mass and energy in 1905 Niels Bohr of Denmark who developed the theory of the nature of atoms in 1913. J.D. Cox Croft and ETF Walton of England were 1932 proved experimentally Einstein's theory of the equivalence of mass and energy. James Chadwick of England who discovered the neutron in 1932 Frederick Giorgio and Irene Curie of France first produced artificial radioisotopes in 1933 and Rico Fermi of Italy who first used neutrons to bombard atomic nuclei in 1934 and Strassmann and Berlin one thousand thirty eight performed the first experiments in nuclear fission and micro and Frisch were the first to actually propose that what had happened was that the atom had been split into two roughly equal parts. Frederic Julio and his colleagues call where is he and how than in Paris 1939
who almost simultaneously with scientists in the United States Denmark and the Soviet Union. Show that one of the notable features of nuclear fission is the liberation of neutrons. And so we can see that atomic power and atomic energy is certainly not the property of one nation and that likewise no one nation can really claim the credit for its discovery and for this reason we felt that in the programming of the series atoms for power our story would not be complete without a few visits to other countries to find out about developments and their power programs. This week we are going to Paris France and France's atomic energy establishment at Clay and Mark to learn about the French atomic energy program. The historical role that France has played in science in general land in nuclear physics in particular has been an outstanding one marked by splendid and original contributions over a period of many
decades. The roster of great men and women in French science includes such names as love was yea they carked Ampera love class for you a la grandes carno Pastore Becker Well the careers the brolly and their discoveries ranged from oxygen to radioactivity. And there is abundant reason for national pride in the history of French science. Up until the time of her defeat in World War Two France was well in the running toward the final discovery and a demonstration of chain reactions based on nuclear fission. Frederick Julio and his colleagues in Paris immediately following the discovery of nuclear fission showed that the neutron and used fission process releases more neutrons than are absorbed. From this they inferred about the same time for me and his colleagues in the United States were reaching the same conclusion that a nuclear chain reaction yielding great quantities of energy should be possible. But about this time war came and many of France's top scientists fled to England and
North America where they continued to play an active part in atomic research and development. Throughout the war after the end of World War Two work was begun in 1905 under the provisional government of General Charles to go on the development of atomic power and the peaceful uses of the atom. Tell us something of the work that was undertaken at that time and how it has progressed up to the present. Here is Miss your Francis para high commissioner for atomic energy in France and a scientist of worldwide reputation. When the French Atomic Energy Commission was set up in 1945 by General Honore to go for a vision of government we have as an administrator General and federal your QB as I commissioner. The fundamental task intrusted to deice governmental organization was to lead the foundations of the different industrial uses needed to prepare. The use of atomic energy
for the production of electricity. I think the media need to bring together a nuclear physicist and intern us and to start the training of the large teams of research workers which would be necessary for the development of these industries. These teams had to be provided with laboratories and special equipment among which at first atomic Baro was completed in 1948 in 1952. The French government adopted a five year program under the direction of Mr. Felix Ghajar then secretary of state. The French had to make a new G plan provides for the contruction of power reactor producing large quantities of electricity from the sources. Artificial radioactive isotopes have been in production since 1949. Electricity will be produced in small quantities in 1956. And secondary concentrated
nuclear fuel. We begin to be a village an industrial scale. In 1957 at the close of the first 10 years of existence of the Commissar Jaelyn Actually I too meek France may claim to have reached the industrial stage in the use of the new form of power. Thank you very much Mr. Francis but our high commissioner for atomic energy in France at the present time France's several atomic reactors in operation and several more that are in the process of construction. The earliest reactors to be built in France were constructed for research purposes and for the production of radioisotopes for industrial use. Today France is in the process of building reactors for the production of electric power just as we are doing here in the United States. Her main areas of atomic development are located at SEC play which is not far from Paris and it Markku in the French media near the first nuclear reactor built in Western Europe outside of the British Isles is the research reactor called zoé
which has been in operation since 1988. A much more powerful reactor called a feat too is an operation that's a clay and resembles the reactor as the British have put into operation and called a hole in that it employs carbon dioxide gas at a pressure of 10 atmospheres to remove heat from the reactor. This was the first pile to be built using a compressed gas as a coolant. At the present time the reactor obtains twenty four hundred kilo watts of power and more advanced models built upon this design. The French hope to attain higher temperatures due to the progress of metallurgy in recent years. Several other research piles are under construction at CEC clay. Two of them have been given rather romantic names Aki long and Proserpina. And a third will be called three. It is however cool near obvious that we must go to find the first really important prototype power reactors being built even here in some cases. It is not power that is being sought primarily but the production of the atomic
fuel plutonium. Another important adjunct to any nation's power program. We have asked Miss your JE VEUX director of reactor research for the French Atomic Energy Commission to describe these plutonium and prototype power reactors to us. We appreciate your ideas. The industrial center Markkula graphite moderated natural uranium cloud called One was developed in the month of January. It is cooled by air drawn from the atmosphere structure resembles that of the Brookhaven pile in the United States as a part of its experimental function the warm air produced by the fissioning atoms in a pile and will be used to drive a steam turban whose power is 5000. A lot of electricity this power however still will be insufficient to see the main blowers which force the gas through the reactor to protect and which themselves consume approximately eight thousand kilowatts of electricity out of the pile has a nominal power of forty thousand kilowatts of heat and it is designed primarily to
start a production of the Newtonian difference. This plutonium probably associated with natural uranium in future reactors will serve as a fuel. And then you piles about which it is premature to support you today from the Gaza production of plutonium again will be further augmented at the same center with piles which is under construction. This pile producing one hundred fifty thousand dollars was a treat. So it's also a graphite will be cooled by the circulation of carbon dioxide. Only this time at a pressure of 15 atmospheres it will drive the turbo alternators and attain a net electric power from 20 to 30 thousand kilowatts the electric current produced will be distributed by the French at the industrial rate in effect in the US in your region G2 pile will enter service in 1957. In addition to the one in an analogous pile G3 will be constructed shortly afterwards at the same site among other atomic energy plants. Naturally must mention enjoy the first French atomic power plant called ETF one which will be modeled
on too much of a fight to make sure that it will have a net electric power of about fifty thousand kilowatts when completed and inauguration. In addition to these are a reactor of moderate power designed to explore problems of high temperatures and the possible applications of gas turbines is being studied. It will use enriched uranium beryllium moderator and circulation of compressed gas. Finally I cannot end without pointing out the benefit we have drawn from American generosity in the declassification of materials. And from the atomic conference in Geneva you have been listening to a simultaneous translation of remarks made by Mr. J.E. Vhong director of reactor research for the French Atomic Energy Commission. After having obtained information on the history of recent developments in atomic energy in France and the present status of reactor operation we were then curious as to how soon electric power from an atomic source was going to be needed to replace already fully developed sources of hydroelectric power or power from other sources such as
coal oil and gas. So we ask research director for electricity to France the following question must your IRA. What is the present status of reserves of hydroelectric power and of fossil fuels such as oil and gas in France today. Political energy in France is at present produced by how dirty stations and how by steam stations. There is no immediate difficulty to increase the installed capacity of hydro stations but there will be a problem within 10 to 20 years. We have already harnessed about one third of what can be economically installed as hydro in France. We studied the fee increase. To get consumption we shall soon be obliged to reduce the proportion of hydro in the new developments in order not to come to a puppet to the end of the harnessing of our rivers. I suppose the coal mines their production is slightly increasing from year to year but the
possibilities of development are very limited compared with the new needs in energy oil and natural gas are only just beginning to play a part in the production of energy in France and those five sort of favorable prospects have appeared with recent discoveries it is students are doing how much they would contribute to the capital increasing demand for more and more power. That is why your highs of the cost of conventional energy may be feared and even real scarcity is not impossible which would act as a brake on the economic development. How soon is atomic energy needed to replace or supplement these already existing sources of power at the ligand it has. Just in time to allay our fears. So that big improvement in each technique is to believe that it will be ready in time to solve our power problems which are not immediate ones. But you know to be able to deliver important quantities of power in 10 years time it is necessary to start as soon as
possible. The development of this new branch of industry. Thank you monsieur for that very concise picture of France's present day reserves of fossil fuel and hydroelectric power. Atomic fuel is cheaper to transport from one place to another and cheaper to burn because it burns longer than other fuels than any of the fossil fuels in common use today. The reason why for instance electric power is more expensive a New England than it is in Ohio is mainly because the fossil fuel that is burned to manufacture heat and make electricity does not have to travel as far to one place as to the other. Because atomic fuel costs very little to transport. Eventually it should be able to compete with traditional sources of energy. At the present time however it is in most parts of the world it cannot compete with conventional sources of energy for the simple reason that it cost so much more to build a nuclear reactor than it does to build a conventional power plant. The reasons for this are clear. No one has yet had enough experience in the construction operation and
maintenance of nuclear reactors. We have not yet reached the stage of development where construction prices can be cut. We ask industrial director for atomic energy of France whether atomic power would be able to compete and price where the traditional sources of energy in France and the near future. He told us as a matter of fact I missed that for the present time. The nuclear energy cannot compete with the traditional sources of energy and I think peace in taking amount not only of the techniques worked out but you were Komisar Yeah Alinea she had to make. But also of these were asked out by United Kingdom and United States which are generally of a more advanced time. No clear energy is not yet competitive as a
proof. I recall that. That no offer. Made by your reactor will be to the French British or American has ever been accepted by any of the French power for which however. Equip each year several hundred thousand killer words. But I am strongly convinced. That it West is a last minute to raise such a question. Before a few hears an answer will be quite different. During the next few years economical dams will be built in France to face the increase of of the power demand which has been 9 percent in 55. But the time comes when
these good dams will be equipped and a new source of finance. We have to be found. If we do not accept to see the energy prices growing up in the same time that the demand. Now the research we are making together with the results of those which are being made in some advanced countries show that nuclear energy will be these new source. It is a reason why the committee Saria Alinea she had to meet in connection with electricity de France took the decision to build just after as a prototype reactance it seeks to make a wet nuclear power station which will be operated before 1960. Of course it will not produce
power at a competitive price. But information obtained and the development provoked by it. We allow to reach very soon a stage where competition will be possible. That was messy and that's real direct for atomic energy of France talking about the comparative future of atomic power in spite of the fact that it is too expensive to be economically competitive today. There still remains the question How soon is atomic power expected to play an important part in French industry. Program director and director of the Department of Physical Chemistry for the French Atomic Energy Commission in all the plans for expansion of French industry for French industrial output and productivity. The question of energy supply is a major one and we can see limits to our home resources of
both hydro and thermal power at the present time. It is considered that by 1965 the reasonable projection of all these classical supply should fail to produce enough power for French demand by an amount equivalent to about two million tons of coal value and the deficit would be ten times as big. Ten years later this is where nuclear energy comes in and you know it or to be able to plug such wells in 10 respectively 20 years we have to start right away. And while the big scale problema of prototypes and a first industrial pies.
Within the next two years two power stations. We put the power into the grid into the French electrical grid to the tune of 50000 kilowatts. This will be byproduct as the pies we are considering now will be mostly made for plutonium production by the action intended for the pad. The real the first real nuclear power station will be set up by the French national electricity authority sometime in 1959 or 1960 and it is foreseen that the rate of increase of nuclear power after that will be by doubling every three to four years.
So as to plug the holes in the power supply holes of which I spoke a few minutes ago. Such a program must be based on on science and on supplies. And the French atomic energy organization is building an old diesel and has a reasonable hope of being able to supply to its own ball on the street to the French Holland street. You know for materials enough products of the chemical industry and enough scientific data to be that efficient. But it's for our protection so we can see that France is faced with the same problems in regard to power for industrial and private consumption as we are here in the United States. Her need for atomic power is not as great as England. And of course neither is ours. Our scientists feel that France has perhaps a
period of 20 years to experiment and decide which designs for power reactors are best in the reactors what years building are very different from our own. More like the British or French engineers have designed a new and unusual methods of cooling these reactors using compressed gas. Something we haven't tried to do here at home. One final question and answer before we go today and that has to do with the future. We asked Mr. scientific writer and editor in chief of the radio science and the future. To answer this question What will the world be like 100 years from now due to the discovery and use of atomic energy. GEIGER Yes Shockey feet get it get that early I played just that all of the fish. They even named the dual function yield it actually very difficult to be science popularizer you speak after official scientists and even high functionaries of science. Therefore I wish to stress that we are now departing from the doctrines of the Atomic Energy Commission for some very personal view
but I must say that my task is facilitated when I am asked to treat a question which falls almost as much within the domain of science fiction as it does of science. What is the future of the atom. A century from now usually. As one who is actively concerned and who has been for months with these questions of reason and anticipation one thing is certain the atomic end industry will take a course quite different from the one it is now pioneered in the course of the nuclear fission and hydrogen and no longer that of the fission of your rhenium and the Geneva Conference which I attended confirm this point of view. Man has known for a long time that one day he would utilize the energy frozen in the atom. But this was for him a very distant and very vague prospect. Even when the first bombs burst in the industrial future of the energy which had been liberated so spectacularly appeared as a hypothesis of no immediately free
solution and then suddenly with the inauguration of the work of Geneva the world took cognizance of the terrible energy shortage with which threatened it in the relatively near future. Fortunately knowledge of the atom had progressed more rapidly than had been previously believed but without it what would have become of the world. France is not in as great haste as England. She merely wishes the atom in her future equipment programs to replace waterfalls when the latter have all been harnessed. This will give her quite a bit of time. Hit him with an order to begin operation on a very large scale when the time at that time arrives she must now build small then medium power plants in order to overcome in the interim. This technical difficulty however your rhenium is not inexhaustible at Geneva. Two or three centuries was the estimate given. In short a mere balloon of oxygen or a world threatened with energy asphyxiation. Even Francis Tory and reserves have just returned from Madagascar where I saw the world's only existing fluorite
deposits which are very veritable geological curiosities that do not weigh heavily in the balance of this large scale. And then a fact that in no way inclines me to sing the praises of the New Energy is that whatever happens the industrial installations will be complex and the cost of the kilowatt will never be much lower than that produced by a classical power installations. Finally aside from the special needs for ships and aircraft atomic fission is only one of the number of possible resources. Nothing more. Now for this resource we must pay dearly in another area that of public health since Geneva. I no longer believe it all in the specter with which some would see us threaten you even if surrounding atmospheric radioactivity should double or triple throughout the world. One expert told us. It would still be less than it is now in regions of high altitude or in granitic areas. Hence I do not believe the danger exists. But above all I do not believe there will be a
sufficiently vast development of fission every industry is to significantly increase surrounding atmospheric radioactivity. The future lies with fusion which itself does not emit radioactivity. If I were asked to look 20 30 50 years ahead I might hesitate in my prognosis but I have been asked to look a century into the future. So it is easy to forecast the full development of hydrogen hydrogen or lithium hydrogen fusion. Some scientists such as Sir John Cockroft and the Indian chairman of the conference made predictions for 20 or fewer years hence. I can certainly play my card for Fusion on the scale of a century or so then yes the atom will give the world true benefits for the first time a source of energy will be truly and exhaustible and all nations will be placed on only 40 a day will come when we should be able to reproduce the innermost reactions of the sun and
stars like an intense hearth. Far from any support will be sustained by a powerful electric field it will be fed by a flow of protons or other light nuclei. That is everything that can be scientifically forecast but the prediction is sufficiently attractive to send one's imagination galloping toward a veritable golden age. Thank you miss your ability. And that ladies and gentlemen winds up this week's program of atoms for power having to do with the international atom and friends. Next week we'll journey to Chalk River Ontario to find out about the future of atomic energy in Canada. Well work is going forward at a rapid pace and the construction and operation of power reactors items for power was written and produced by Bob McMahon for radio station WABE AA at Purdue University under a grant from the educational radio and television center recorded interviews in France were made to the courtesy and cooperation of the international service of the French Broadcasting
Corporation. This transcribed program is distributed by the National Association of educational broadcasters. This is the end AB Radio Network.
Atoms for power
International atom - France
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Purdue University
WBAA (Radio station : West Lafayette, Ind.)
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
Francis Perrin, high commissioner, Atomic Energy in France; Monsieur J. Yvon, director, Reactor Research; Monsieur P. Ailleret, Research Director, Electricite de France.
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This 15-part series discusses the feasibility of atomic power as an alternate energy source to replace depleted fossil fuels.
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Advisor: Tandam, Donald J.
Guest: Perrin, Francis
Guest: Yvon, J.
Guest: Ailleret, P.
Narrator: Richter, Walt
Producer: McMahon, Bob
Producing Organization: Purdue University
Producing Organization: WBAA (Radio station : West Lafayette, Ind.)
Writer: McMahon, Bob
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 57-59-12 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:32
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