It’s been a good few months for the nuclear industry in the United States. In December, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission published the final design certification rule for the AP1000 Pressurized Water Reactor in the Federal Register. And recently, the NRC approved the issue of a combined construction and operating license to Southern Company for two AP1000 reactors to be built on the Vogtle site that has been in preparation for years. The combined license for Vogtle is the first new construction license issued by the NRC in 34 years.
Now, I myself cannot even remember 34 years ago. I was but an eating, crying, sleeping, pooping babe back when the last new nuclear construction license was issued. Which made me wonder, what else was happening the last time NRC green lighted a nuclear construction project? Here are a few historical facts to put this accomplishment in perspective.
- In 1978 Jimmy Carter was president. The same year, Carter witnessed the signing of the Camp David Accord that eventually led to a peace treaty between Israel and Egypt. The Egyptian President Anwar El Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin won the 1978 Nobel Peace Prize for their work.
- Almost every family in American had a TV by 1978. But U.S. politics lagged way behind technology, as usual. While British Parliament sessions began regular radio broadcasts in ’78, the United States Senate just managed to broadcast its first session over the radio waves.
- In 1978, the average price of a gallon of gasoline was 63 cents, a stamp cost 15 cents and the Dow Jones was in the 800 range. (Even in the current recession, the Dow is almost 13,000!) 1978 was also the year the Susan B. Anthony coin was first minted.
- In 1978, Volkswagen stopped making the Beetle. They tried to bring it back. But we all know how that went… (So much for the Beetle renaissance!)
- In 1978, the first test tube baby was born, and the first ever mobile phone system was introduced.
- In 1978, the Denver Broncos played the Dallas Cowboys in Denver’s first ever Super Bowl. The Broncos wanted to go to Disneyland. The Cowboys took them to school.
Now please enjoy some sexy nuclear pics!