« PreviousContinue »
Mr. CROWLEY. It might delay the appropriation, Mr. Chairman. The item is in our 1956 appropriation bill.
Mr. DURHAM. Is that the only reason?
Mr. DURHAM. When do you go before the Appropriations Committee?
Mr. CROWLEY. We have already been before the House Appropriations Coinmittee.
Mr. COLE. How did you arrive at the figure of $412 million for your plant?
Mr. Crowley. It is a preliminary engineering estimate on the part of our engineering staff at the Lewis Laboratory.
Mr. COLE. What experience have they had in estimating the cost of these things?
Mr. CROWLEY. They have a great deal of experience in estimating the cost of aerodynamic, propulsion, and other research facilities. They also obtained advice from discussions with the Atomic Energy Commission people.
Mr. DURHAM. Are there any further questions?
Mr. PRICE. Mr. Chairman, I would hate to be in a position to unnecessarily delay this program but if we felt satisfied the NACA needed this project—and I personally feel that they do I think they have contributed a great deal to research in aeronautics. I am personally satisfied that if they work out these other details without abusing any of the authority we are giving them here; in land acquisition if they can do everything they can to hold the land down to a minimum and the cost down to a minimum, these other details will be worked out in time. I am sure they will present proper justifications to the Appropriations Committees. I think those things give us proper safeguards if we agree they should have the facilities to accomplish their purpose. I personally feel we might well report this bill.
Mr. DURHAM. Are there any further statements?
Mr. KELLEHER. May I suggest Dr. Dryden's previous testimony be inserted in the record.
Mr. DURHAM. Without objection that will be done.
SUBCOMMITTEE HEARING ON H. R. 2581 AND H. R. 2123
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, D. C., Monday, February 19, 1955. The subcommittee met at 10 a. m., Hon. Carl T. Durham (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
STATEMENT OF DR. Hugh L. DRYDEN, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE
Dr. DrYDEN. We have been able to simulate the temperature and pressure conditions with facilities which we have normally available at the laboratory. We have done a very limited amount of work on radiation effects, using small quantities of material obtained from the Atomic Energy Commission. It seemed to us that we were not making an effective contribution on the whole program because we were not also simulating the large radiation, neutrons, and gamma rays, to which the parts of nuclear engines and nuclear aircraft would be
subjected. The facility which is before you uses as a source of radiation what I would call by now a common garden variety of research reactor. This is a tool which becomes a source of radiation, so that we can subject materials and components to the realistic radiation temperature and pressure conditions they would meet in a nuclear powerplant.
Mr. DURHAM. What is the cost of that one, Doctor?
First, I want to tell you about the coordination with the AEC and the Department of Defense: We called on Chairman Strauss and had many discussions with General Keirn and his group within the Commission who are charged with the primary responsibility for this program. As a result, I have an unclassified letter from Chairman Strauss dated October 27, 1954, which can be read into the record.
"DEAR DR. HUNSAKER: In reply to your letter of October 14, 1954, we are agreed that it is quite timely that the NACA should at this time propose to construct a component research facility for aircraft nuclear propulsion. The complexity of materials of heat transfer development problems pertaining to the application of nuclear energy to aircraft propulsion certainly warrants all the attention that can be devoted to them. In recognition of the strategie military and diplomatic advantages of truly long-range aircraft, the Commission for some years has engaged in a substantial development effort on the nuclear portion of this program, in cooperation with the Air Force and NACA, aimed at achievement of practical nuclear powerplants for this purpose. While substantial progress has been made, much remains to be done to augment and extend our knowledge.
“The Commission approves wholeheartedly the project you have proposed.”
I may interject that this received the formal action of the full Commission, and was not merely the action of the Chairman. I continue to quote from Chairman Strauss' letter:
“It will be pleased to review the plans for your new facility to make such suggestions as are appropriate and to render such other technical assistance as it can." "Sincerely yours,
"LEWIS STRAUSS, Chairman." Now similar letters--but unfortunately classified-have been received from Donald Quarles, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Development. His letter contained the proviso that we should, of course, clear with the AEC and avoid duplication with their programs.
We have similar classified letters from the Air Force and the Navy. These could be shown to the committee, but cannot be placed in the open record.
Mr. DURHAM. Doctor, at this point I think it is well to discuss this item pretty fully. I have some views on it. I am of the definite opinion that you should have had it probably long ago. I think it is almost necessary in the type of work you do in nuclear-powered engines, of which, of course, we expect to build more in the future.
Dr. DRYDEN. Mr. Chairman, I think we will have to come back to this for full discussion. I wonder if I might run through the rest of the program?
Mr. DURHAM. All right.
Dr. DRYDEN. There is one other point in connection with this Lewis facility: Of the $4,850,000, $270,000 is estimated for the purchase of approximately 500 acres of land. We expect to have a site survey made by a competent consulting firm. We cannot, we think, locate this on the present site of the laboratory, because of the precautions that are necessary in connection with nuclear reactors. We do feel that it will be possible to locate this research reactor in the general vicinity of Cleveland, so that we do not have to build up an elaborate supporting organization in connection with its operation. It can be operated as an auxiliary station of our Cleveland laboratory, just as we operate the small pilotless-flight range as an auxiliary station of our Langley laboratory. We can do it that way at far less cost than if we went a long distance and tried to build up a completely new laboratory.
I think you will want to come back to this point.
The other point to mention is this: I think you gentlemen are always interested in what the operating cost of new facilities that you authorize is likely to be. The estimated operating cost of this facility is about $375,000 per year. The entire personnel complement would be about 70.
Mr. DOYLE. Mr. Chairman, I would like to ask about this item of land.
Dr. DrYDEN. It is possible the site selected will be on federally owned land. Our present difficulty is we cannot proceed too vigorously until we know whether land acquisition is authorized. We will then have to make a site study. We have to comply with all the safety requirements of the AEC. There are some Federal sites which may possibly be suitable. This authority is requested so we don't have to come back to you again, if it does not prove possible to use federally owned land.
Mr. DURHAM. Mr. Doyle, at that point, since we have opened up this matter for discussion, this is the reactor; this year the AEC has a very large program of building reactors all over the country for research facilities, and, of course, they all use some amount of fissionable material. What has disturbed me a little bit, Doctor, is the fact that every art--of course, last year the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy did not have authorizing power, but they do have under the new legislation. I discussed this item with Mr. Cole and also with the Chairman, and last year the Army came in and asked for a reactor, the Navy came in and asked for a reactor, and it looked to me as if we should at least have all of this facility flowing from one point; not get it scattered all over if we could help it.
I don't know whether the committee members will agree with me or not, but I am of the opinion that since there is a committee that has authorizing power now that this item should go to that committee.
I understand how it got here, and I am for it, understand. I think you should have it. I think you should have had it last year, but you didn't ask for it. I feel that this item should go over, and come in new legislation. If the committee feels the same way, I think it would give for much better construction of this whole system, since it is also closely related, hazards, and everything else, and then you don't get into this field of confusion on Capitol Hill.
Dr. DRYDEN. From my point of view, the handling of the legislation is a congressional matter. We were authorized by the Bureau of the Budget to send it over in one document, and this we did. Now it is up to the Congress to decide what committee should consider it, and we are quite willing to appear before any committee.
Mr. DURHAM. The main disturbance, of course, is the use of the fissionable material because, after all, you have to go to the Commission for that directly. You can't get it from any other source.
Dr. DRYDEN. That is correct.
Mr. DURHAM. It is all controlled by them, and it is your field element you have to have.
Dr. DRYDEN. Mr. Chairman, General Keirn, from the Commission, who heads the program on nuclear propulsion of aircraft, is with us this morning. You may want to ask him some questions about this.
Dr. DRYDEN. I tried to summarize it earlier in this way: The new equipment is for two purposes: One is to support the nuclear powerplant development in the same way that we have been doing in the development of the jets, the ram jets, and the rockets. Two, to do the basic research supporting the long-range ballistic missile development.
Mr. DURHAM. Can't we practically understand when we authorize this research instrument in the nuclear field that we provided one already for the Army, we provided one for the Navy. Now we could provide one for the Air Force to a certain extent?
Dr. DRYDEN. May I tell you what I conceive to be the principal difference? As I understand it, the research reactor of the Navy will be used primarily for materials for use in submarine and ship powerplants.
Mr. DURHAM. That is correct.
Dr. DRYDEN. The one that we are requesting is primarily for aircraft powerplants, and the one the Army has is primarily for the portable power in remote areas. I don't say, as Mr. Doyle has mentioned, that you cannot do both with one facility, but the program is so large that you are certainly going to have more than one facility working on the submarine, ship, aircraft, and stationary powerplant problems.
Mr. DURHAM. Do you have any further statements to make, General?
General KEIRN. We are thoroughly in agreement with the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics in this program.
Mr. ĎURHAM. On one condition that you report to us, this subcommittee, when the decision is made on the location and the need for it, without objection H. R. 3761 is reported favorably to the House,
Mr. PRICE. Now, we have an amendment there. Did you look over that amendment?
Mr. CROWLEY. Yes. We are perfectly satisfied with the amendment. Mr. COLE. Where did the suggestion come from?
Mr. ULMER. From Mr. Kelleher and the staff of the Joint Committee.
Mr. COLE. I want to resist the amendment. This sort of amendment isn't necessary. Everybody who builds one of these plants has to have a license. If we start writing provisions into the law somebody might come along and construe that, because Congress at one time or another did put such a provision in there, it was intended that they would have to have a license.
Nr. ULMER. May I explain why the staff people of the Joint Committee felt this amendment was necessary: There appears to be, under Public Law 703, two methods by which a Federal agency may get into this business. One is by Presidential directive. The other is by the licensing agreement that you spoke of. There is no question in our minds but what we are going to operate under the licensing agreement but they merely asked that this language be inserted as a safeguard to make sure we follow that procedure.
Is that essentially correct, Mr. Kelleher?
Mr. COLE. What is the President's authority to put people into this business?
Mr. ULMER. I understand under section 19 (b) (2) there is a provision that by Presidential directive
Mr. COLE. The NACA doesn't come under the armed services.
Mr. ULMER. That is correct, but the staff people felt our work was so closely interrelated with the Defense Department there might be a possibility that we get into the field by that method. We have no desire to, of course. We are in perfect agreement with the license procedure and have no objection to the suggested amendment if your committee feels that it should be included.
Mr. DURHAM. I don't see why the amendment is necessary.
Mr. DOYLE. I am still worried about that land situation and I hope when the NACA reports to this committee that they will report in considerable detail on the land situation and how they arrived at the value and the recommended purchase of the parcel. I don't like the present situation at all, involving that land situation. I think we ought to be very minutely informed.
Mr. ULMER. Speaking for the NACA, Mr. Doyle, I assure you we will supply you with all the details on the land before any commitment is made.
Mr. DOYLE. The only basis for this is safety.
Mr. ROTHROCK. We arrived at this estimate through discussions with the staff of the Atomic Energy Commission, considering the general size of the reactor.
Mr. DOYLE. Where did you arrive at the price of $494 per acre?
Mr. ULMER. That was a rough estimate of the cost of land contiguous to the laboratory.
Mr. COLE. That is not rough, that is exact. If you had said 500, that is being rough; 494 is pretty exact.
Mr. PRICE. Do we report the bill without amendment?
Mr. DoYLE. Did I understand you to say, Mr. Crowley, that it was not contemplated to use this land that is to be acquired for the expansion of the Lewis facility?
Mr. CROWLEY. That is correct. It will be used solely for this facility.
Mr. DURHAM. Without objection H. R. 3761 is reported favorably out.
(Whereupon, at 11:25 a. m., Thursday, February 24, 1955, the subcommittee hearing adjourned.)