Man and the chemical elements. by Newton Friend J.

By Newton Friend J.

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The first subs built with the material—cracked because of the shock testing. HY-80 is very brittle and fractures easily. If an impurity gets into a weld in HY-80, the steel will crack like an eggshell. During the construction of a submarine, each weld must be left alone for seven days to make sure it has not cracked. Perhaps the shock testing had proved too much for the brittle HY-80. Others note that Admiral Rickover was an engineer by training, not a ship designer, and very good at designing conservative, robust nuclear reactors.

Still, as technologically advanced as submarines now are, as long as nations continue to build and operate these vessels there will be accidents. All submariners train against such an eventuality and rely on that training to help them to survive if and when an accident occurs. Nuclear submarine disasters add another level of difficulty to the problem: the nuclear fuels and weapons on board consist of some of the deadliest poisons known to man. 37 Thresher The loss of the attack submarine USS Thresher, which sank off the coast of Massachusetts with 129 men aboard, shocked the American public and raised questions about the safety of nuclear warships.

The submarine was in a precarious position. It could not safely go much deeper than 1,000 feet, but as the ship filled with water, the extra weight was taking Thresher deeper. The reactor was off-line, and the sub badly needed that power because blowing the THRESHER ballast tanks would not provide a quick enough lift for a trip to the surface. Thresher needed to surface fast. Propeller power was required to drive the ship to the surface, but it would take seven minutes to restart the reactor and get the ship moving again.

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