Flight Fancy: Relics of a Nuclear FantasyGary Richardson
A composite photo depicts Sean Hubbs’ Airship [cropped from a photo of the art piece on a stand & layered into the sky] flying over the National Reactor Testing Station/Idaho National Laboratory while far up in the clouds is the engineers’ rendition of a U.S.A.F. nuclear-powered bomber [cropped from a poster at the sire and layered into the clouds]. On the ground at sunrise are the actual hulks of two experimental nuclear jet engines, “Heat Transfer Reactor Experiments”—HTRE-2 & -3, which never got off the ground, and the lead-shielded locomotive used to move them in and out of their hangar at Test Area North. These machines are on display at the Idaho National Lab outside the Experimental Breeder Reactor that produced the first nuclear power, now a museum.
“Fortunately,” in-flight refueling & Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) obviated the need for week-long nuke flights of fancy.