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Saturday, May 20, 2006

1st Atomic Lighthouse Goes On-Line


On this day in 1964, the first U.S. atomic-powered lighthouse was put into operation in the Chesapeake Bay, Baltimore Harbor, Md. Designed to supply a continuous flow of electricity for ten years without refuelling, the 60-watt nuclear generator generated heat from strontium-90 in the form of strontium titinate, a safe radioisotope. The heat was converted to electricity by 120 pairs of lead telluride thermocouples. Complete with shielding, the unit was only 34.5 inches high and 22 inches in diameter. Link

The lighthouse (right) c. 1952 was used by Ray Harryhausen in his film "Beast from 20,000 Fathoms" and was taken from the book, "The Art of Ray Harryhausen", available from HERE.