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Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

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Sunday, January 16, 2005

Underway on nuclear power

tomorrow, 1/17/05 marks the 50th anniversary of the Nautilus underway. during the intervening years, the u.s. navy conducted thousands of patrols in the world's waterways. who knows how many russian ops there were, or french, or british, or even now, china?

the beauty of nuclear power was quickly realized by the navy. imagine being able to circumnavigate the entire globe underwater, as did the Triton in the early 60's. or allow us, on the old seawolf, remain submerged and divorced from the atmosphere long enough to establish an almost unimginable record, a length of time that may still be classified. i don't know if it is, and i don't actually remember the duration, but i do remember being away from shore for 128 days that trip. long enough for the boat to receive the Navy Unit Commendation for doing so, going over 80 days continuously divorced from the atmosphere. no ventillating the boat, no sticking the snorkle mast up and sucking in sweet, fresh, non-recycled air, replacing air redolent with farts, feet, hydraulic and good old 2190 TEP lubricating oils, cooking grease, and diesel, with a piquant undertone of amines used to scrub the atmosphere of carbon monoxide.
we carried our oxygen with us, in O2 banks and chlorate candles, which when burned exhausted oxygen and a fine coating of soot and dust throughout the boat.
so if you ever meet me, and notice i'm a little twitchy, even after 20+ years, you are probably right.

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