Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory

Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory

Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory (KAPL) is a research and development facility dedicated to the support of the US Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program.[1] KAPL is a government-owned, contractor operated laboratory run by Bechtel Marine Propulsion Corporation for the United States Department of Energy. KAPL is responsible for the research, design, construction, operation, and maintenance of U.S. nuclear-powered warships.



On May 15, 1946, KAPL began with a contract between General Electric and the U.S. Government to conduct nuclear research and development, including the generation of electricity from nuclear energy. In 1950, the nuclear power plant project was converted to a Naval Nuclear Propulsion project.[citation needed] Several years later Knolls work joined that of Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory, the Argonne National Laboratory, and others in birthing the world's first nuclear-powered submarine, the USS Nautilus on January 21, 1954.

The Chart of the Nuclides, containing information such as masses, relative abundances, half-lives, neutron cross sections, and decay properties for more than 3,100 nuclides and 580 isomers was developed at KAPL. This chart is a necessity for students and professionals in nuclear physics, chemistry, engineering, and medicine around the world. The Chart has been compiled, edited and periodically revised by KAPL scientists since 1956.

KAPL today

KAPL operates two sites in the Schenectady, New York area: the Knolls site in Niskayuna and the Kenneth A. Kesselring site in West Milton.[1] Niskayuna is the primary site for the KAPL, focusing on the design and development of naval propulsion plants and reactor cores. The West Milton site operates land-based prototypes of shipboard reactor plants. This site is also used to train officers and enlisted personnel for the U.S. Navy's fleet of nuclear powered vessels. KAPL employs more than 2,600 people [1] at these sites and others, mostly shipyards in the states of California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Virginia, and Washington.

In 2006 KAPL achieved full remediation of the S1C Prototype Reactor site located in Windsor, Connecticut.[citation needed] The S1C site remedial action was declared to be complete by the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection in October of 2006. KAPL had taken over operation of the S1C Prototype in the 1960s after expiration of the Navy's original contract with Combustion Engineering.[citation needed]

KAPL, as well as Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory, is currently managed and operated by Bechtel Marine Propulsion Corporation[2][3], a wholly owned subsidiary of Bechtel National Incorporated. The previous operating contractor of KAPL was Lockheed Martin. KAPL's original contractor was General Electric. KAPL was one of the first laboratories to conduct research on obtaining usable power from nuclear reactors.

KAPL has one computer listed on the TOP500 list of supercomputers in the world. [4]


External links

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