"a solution in search of a problem."
Those of you following closely the unfolding disaster of unprecedented scale in Japan will notice the extreme devastation as having been wrought upon the landscape. Total destruction of a type normally only associated with warfare. Two armies having fought over contested terrain, obliteration of everything in the path of the combatants the result. The type of thing you would have witnessed at Stalingrad.
And NO electricity. The grid - - the power plants - - nuclear and otherwise, having been taken off line, destroyed, the infrastructure for delivering electrical power so critical for a modern society gone.
A remedy is not even close at hand? Sendai was a city of 1 million inhabitants. The number of folks in the environs even beyond that for many miles in all directions. These persons to be without the basics of civilization for some time?
This is the type of scenario that caused the U.S. Army during the 1950's and 1960's to develop the Army Nuclear Power Program. ANPP.
Transportable nuclear reactors that could be quickly brought on line, providing electrical power to areas ravaged by warfare. The U.S. Army to the rescue - - Army Light & Power on-call if need be.
"The Army Nuclear Power Program (ANPP) was a program of the United States Army to develop small pressurized water and boiling water nuclear power reactors to generate electrical and space-heating energy primarily at remote, relatively inaccessible sites."
A program in the works for several decades, only coming to fruition on several occasions, finally being abandoned as too expensive, alternatives more work-able preferred. But a concept that did have merit.
A concept as needed right now in Sendai. A nuclear power plant on a barge, towed into position, connected to the electrical grid as re-construction proceeds, normality restored in relative short order! Courtesy of the U.S. Army!
A program, ANPP, finally abandoned in the 1970's, the last power plant, mounted on a barge, now and for some time mothballed, the Sturgis, still on-call [?] if needed!
"Mounted on the Sturgis, a barge (no propulsion systems) converted from a Liberty ship, and moored in the Panama Canal Zone . . . It was the last of the eight plants to permanently cease operation."
The manpower to run and operate the nuclear power plant strictly a duty OF ENLISTED MEN. Highly trained and specially selected troops given the most intensive training imaginable. AND AT THE TIME, THE ONE MOS IN THE ARMY WITH THE HIGHEST VARIABLE REENLISTMENT BONUS!! Now no more!
"The Nuclear Power Plant Operator Course (NPPOC) . . . Applicants for the program were enlisted men who had to commit to serving a minimum of two years after completion of training. The requirements for admission to the NPPOC included aptitude test scores at least as stringent as those required for admission to Officer Candidate School"
A "solution in search of a problem"! That problem now existing at Sendai!