• The Nuclear Power Plant Operator’s Course graduating class of 1962 is honored at Fort Belvoir.


Nuclear Energy

The Fort Belvoir reactor was also the centerpiece of the Army Nuclear Power Program’s Plant Operators Course (POC), a demanding yearlong academic program that turned officers and enlisted men alike into expert nuclear technicians. Many of the trainees had already earned advanced scientific degrees prior to serving in the Army. At SM-1, they took 55 hours of classical and modern physics, 64 hours of nuclear reactor engineering, 278 hours of nuclear process and research instrument education, 76 hours of advanced mathematics, 125 hours of electronics and solid state device instruction, a battery of courses devoted to mechanical and electrical engineering, and finally a whopping 718 hours of on-the-job training behind the control console of the plant itself. The ANPP trained some 800 operators over the life of the program, many of whom went on to helm nuclear generating stations at land and sea for the Army and Navy. Many transitioned to the civilian sector as well.