George Shaw was interviewed on September 20, 2021 by Patience Stuart and Kevin Taylor of AECOM for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' SM-1A Nuclear Reactor decommissioning project. The interview was conducted over the telephone with George being at his home in Kenai, Alaska, Patience in Portland, Oregon, and Kevin in Greenville, South Carolina. In this interview, George talks about being a civilian employee at the SM-1A nuclear reactor at Fort Greely, Alaska in the 1960's. He describes the training he received in the Army's Nuclear Power Training Program, the day-to-day activities of the operator's job, restarting the reactor, refueling, and dealing with contaminated water and a leak of contaminated steam. He also talks about the social life with other crewmembers, living off base as a married man with a family, the importance of this experience for the rest of his career, and why he changed jobs and left to go work for Union Oil in Kenai, Alaska.
Digital Asset Information
Project: Cold War in Alaska
Date of Interview: Sep 20, 2021
Narrator(s): George Shaw
Interviewer(s): Patience Stuart, Kevin Taylor
Transcriber: Rev Transcription Services, Kelsey Tranel
After clicking play, click on a section to navigate the audio or video clip.
Joining the nuclear power training program as a civilian
Courses taken and things learned in the training program
How he qualified to be accepted into the training program
Returning to Alaska as a nuclear power plant operator, and day-to-day activities of the job
The nuclear power plant at Fort Greely becoming operational
Living situation for civilian employees
When the nuclear power plant went critical
Family history in Alaska
Historical documents and photographs related to the SM-1A power plant
Bringing the reactor back up to full power, monitoring the instrumentation, and refueling the reactor
Challenges of the job, and how the job benefited his future career
Views of nuclear power in the 1960s, and disposal of contaminated water from the SM-1A plant
Other crewmembers and social activities
Plant scramming and shutting down, and restarting the reactor
Generating electricity and using diesel generators at Fort Greely
Steam generator leak causing contaminated steam to be released into the base's heating system
Leaving the job and applying for a position with Union Oil
Raising a family
Spent fuel being escorted out of Alaska, and refueling operation at Fort Greely
Click play, then use Sections or Transcript to navigate the interview.
After clicking play, click a section of the transcript to navigate the audio or video clip.
Patience Stuart: Okay. Today is September 20th, 2021. This is an oral history interview with George Shaw. We are conducting this interview virtually over the phone, and we have two interviewers and one narrator. I am Patience Stuart. I'm a historian, and I'm calling from Portland, Oregon. Kevin, we'll go to you next.
Kevin Taylor: And this is Kevin Taylor, calling from Greenville, South Carolina. I am a health physicist and nuclear engineer.
Patience Stuart: And George?
George Shaw: And I am George Shaw, and I am a resident of Kenai, Alaska. Patience Stuart: Great. George Shaw: And former operator and shift supervisor at the SM-1A.
Patience Stuart: Great. Thank you. We're really happy that you're taking some time to talk with us today. And would your full name as you'd like it documented for the interview be George Shaw?
George Shaw: Yes.
Patience Stuart: Okay. And would you prefer to be called George or Mr. Shaw during our conversation today?
George Shaw: Oh, George is good enough.
Patience Stuart: Okay. Great. And -- and tell us, George, what was the timeframe that you worked at SM-1A?
George Shaw: Well, let's see. They sent me to the nuclear power school in August of 1962. I was back at Fort Greely in December of 1963, and I worked there until August of 1968.
Patience Stuart: Great. And how did you end up in the training program? How did you end up there?
George Shaw: Well, that goes back a few years earlier. The Army post and port at Whittier, Alaska, was being closed as a military post. I was a civilian employee there in the marine -- engineer on tugs and other floating equipment. And I have a chief engineer's license for motor vessels.
So, when the list of eligible employees went around different places in Alaska, I got offered jobs in the power plants at several posts. I knew the plant superintendent at Fort Greely and before Whittier closed, I made a fast trip up the highway to -- to Greely and talked to my friend, and he told me, "George, there's this nuclear plant being built. They're going to send people to school." And he thought I should go. He said, "You can go. You can do that."
So, he put in for me to be transferred to Fort Greely as a power plant operator, which I did in June of 1962. The SM-1A, I don't believe it had gone critical yet. It was still in the last stages of construction.
I got there in June -- excuse me, June of 1960 is when I went up to Fort Greely. Yes. So I got there and it was still under construction.
And I got promoted the next year to maintenance foreman at the Fort Greely conventional power plant. And they -- I -- I was one of the people put down as possible school going, but nobody could tell us when we would go to the school.
So I had met my wife-to-be in 1960 and we were planning a wedding. Come the summer of 1962, I said, "Well, I'm going to take my vacation and get married in June, July, and I'll be back about the 1st of August of 1962." Went out, got married, came back up the Alaska Highway, got to Fort Greely about the 1st of August, 1962. And they said, "George, you're going to school in 30 days."
So it was a mad scramble to store things and down the Alaska Highway again to Virginia. The school started in September of 1963 and lasted ‘til, I believe, early November -- or started in September of 1962 and lasted until early November of 1963. And I was back in Fort Greely by around the 1st of December of '63 to work as an operator in the nuclear power plant.
Patience Stuart: Were you joined by -- I think when we spoke before you had said that there were a handful of you that went from Alaska?
George Shaw: There were four of us who went with the first group and another four went with the second group, which was 6 months later, maybe. And I am not certain whether there was a third group of civilians.
Because what happened after they started talking about being a civilian plant, quite a few of the military people who were close to retirement would take their retirement and go to work there. So, they were converting to a civilian cadre, so -- because of the military being moved in and out on 2-year, 3-year rotations.
Patience Stuart: Do you remember much about that training? George Shaw: Pardon? Patience Stuart: Could you -- Do you remember -- Do you recall much of the training program, in Virginia?
George Shaw: Well, the first four-months was academic. Math and science, nuclear physics, narrowly pointed toward the operation of a nuclear power plant. I -- Well, let's see, I would've been 34 and I thought, "Boy, these young kids are going to ace me out." But it turned out that experience did help me. But the -- the -- Like I say, it was narrowly pointed toward nuclear plant operation.
The second four-months was either in the little SM-1 nuclear plant at Fort Belvoir, or on the simulator. And this ran us through everything and anything you could think about. There again, my experience helped me out a lot, in the plant itself. Nothing was strange to me except the reactor operation.
The third four-months section, I was supposed to go either mechanical or electrical, but because I had a lot of experience, I asked to have the nuclear phy -- not nuc -- the health physics and radiation and water chemistry sections instead, and they did change me to that. So I had a very well rounded one-year school there, I'll tell you.
Patience Stuart: It sounds like it. Kevin, do you have any questions about the training?
Kevin Taylor: Just one. We -- we learned that many of the enlisted operators, you know, certainly had to qualify from a -- You know, had to rank really high in their testing, you know, to be invited to the program or to qualify for the program. Did you have to take the same -- the same types of qualification tests to -- to be entered into the program?
George Shaw: No. Mine was strictly experience. Most of my engine room sea-going time, of course, was good qualification. Nope. And I don't recall that anybody else spoke of that either.
They uh -- About half the civilians, as I recall, that went to the school, had previous power plant or at least utility plant experience in Alaska. And worked for Yukon command or Alaska command at one of the big coal fired power plants on the various posts up here.
Patience Stuart: After your training, George, and you arrived back in Alaska, and, you know, at Greely, was there additional training or did you feel ready to go?
George Shaw: I felt I was ready for the operator's job, yes. The -- the -- That was the job description, nuclear power plant operator. And I'm not sure whether that job description or the shift supervisor's one, was the one that corresponded to an AEC (Atomic Energy Commission) reactor operator. But I believe it corresponded to the -- the old atomic energy commission reactor operator position.
Patience Stuart: And do you want to describe what the day-to-day of the position was like?
George Shaw: If you were the control room operator, you had the reactor controls right in front of you. You had a desk set up and the -- a lot of the other controls on panels, the electrical for the generator and so on, around the room. If you were the outside operator and --
They tried to run the plant with a two man shift. The outside operator watched all the equipment on the turbine floor and on the lower deck where the feed water pumps and all of the auxiliary machinery was.
Patience Stuart: Did you do both?
George Shaw: Yes. Of course, yes. We switched around back and forth on those jobs.
And we did not do continuous. At times, we would shift off of that kind of work and be helping in the maintenance. They rotated people around quite rapidly, I thought, to get a more rounded experience.
Patience Stuart: Did you have a favorite task or something that was particularly interesting to you?
George Shaw: I thought it was very interesting, yes. I -- I enjoyed working there.
Patience Stuart: And -- and you said that when you first arrived, it had not -- the reactor had not gone critical yet. Do you have --
George Shaw: Yes. Sometime while -- When I first went to Fort Greely, working in the conventional plant, I believe the reactor went critical in May of 1962. And I went out to school in August. Patience Stuart: Okay.
George Shaw: Somewhere I should have a note about that, but I couldn't find it. Patience Stuart: Sure.
George Shaw: I think that was really what they were waiting for before they sent civilians to school, was to have the plant up and running.
Patience Stuart: When you were there, did you live on base? Did civilians and active duty both live on base or did you live elsewhere?
George Shaw: I lived at -- At that time, after I got married, it was off base. When I first went there, they had bachelor civilian quarters on base. And I lived in them in, well, '60 to '62.
Patience Stuart: Oh, so -- Okay. So you were there when it went -- Do you have memories of when it first went critical?
George Shaw: No. Just -- Except that we -- they went critical, let's see, I -- okay. By that time, we were connected to the local utility, Golden Valley Electric, which stretched from Fairbanks to Nenana and down to Big Delta.
So, being connected to that utility when they brought the reactor up and started generating electricity, we had to back off load on our generators. And -- Just because of the length of the transmission lines we, on our end, held up the power factor. So we had to do adjustments in the conventional plant when the reactor came up and started making electricity.
Patience Stuart: Kevin, do you have any more questions -- do you have any questions to follow up about that?
Kevin Taylor: Yeah, the -- and -- and perhaps you mentioned this earlier, but -- so you were -- you were in Alaska when you heard about the program. You live in Alaska now, are you a -- are you a native Alaskan? Have you lived there all your life? What --
George Shaw: Yes.
Kevin Taylor: If so, what got you in Alaska the first time?
George Shaw: What got me here the first time was I was born in Juneau. And yes, my family has been in Alaska. It started out in Juneau for, oh Lord, 120 years or a little more.
Kevin Taylor: Wow. Wow, so you're -- so -- so not only are you -- are you a piece of the nuclear history of Alaska, you're a piece of the history of Alaska.
George Shaw: Well, yes, in some ways, yeah. Yeah.
Patience Stuart: So, you mentioned, George, that you were pulling out a bunch of old materials from your time there. Do you want to tell us about some of them?
George Shaw: Well, a lot of it is just the general civil service paperwork, the appointment, promotion, transfer type papers. I have the two different copies of the SM-1A brochure. I have another one entitled “Five on the Line,” which details all five of the nuclear power plants that were running.
And the one that they had under consideration, the floating plant, that never got built. And oh, certificates and a few newspaper clippings. One or two from the Fairbanks newspaper about the people going to school, and the certificates from the school and stuff like that.
Patience Stuart: Do you have any photographs from your time there?
George Shaw: I thought I did, and I can't find them. I thought I had some from the control room. Patience Stuart: Sure.
George Shaw: And I couldn't find them. And it could be in a stack of old 35 millimeter slides, which I didn't go through really, or at least didn't see them there. Patience Stuart: Sure.
George Shaw: The others I have are just the general publicity type photos that the Army might have taken. I have a couple of eight by tens of the plant itself from the outside, which shows the conventional plant and a few other things.
I wish I had thought of this earlier, but we should have tried to set up a Zoom call. My children got me into that and we do one every Sunday afternoon where you're talking to everybody and you can show people things.
Patience Stuart: Sure. Well, I would love to do that with you and -- and we should. It -- it doesn't work so well for the recording quality, so that's why we've done it on the -- George Shaw: Right. Patience Stuart: -- phone. But there's no reason -- I'd love to see those photos and maybe we could do that after this call or another time we can arrange a Zoom.
Kevin Taylor: Yeah. I think that's a great idea, because it sounds like he may have some things that aren't in the Corps of Engineers archives already, that -- that might be certainly, you know, good to get copies of whether they're articles or photographs or something. I'm sure they would love to have copies of that if there are things that they don't already have. And I've --
George Shaw: Right. Kevin Taylor: I've got a pretty good idea of what we have already.
Patience Stuart: Sure. Yeah. And then I --
George Shaw: Yeah. If you give me a few days, I will go through the slides again and see if there's anything particular in there.
Patience Stuart: Okay, great. Thank you for taking the time to do that. I'll set something up for us for later this week.
George Shaw: Just a little aside. I did personally bring the reactor up twice. After our refueling in '67, I think, I did it. Because that one stuck in my mind. They had made a mistake on the placing of the reactor instrumentation. It was too high in the tubes above or around the core. And we had a real conundrum there for a while.
Patience Stuart: Could you tell us more about that? About how they had to connect? George Shaw: Yes. Patience Stuart: Yeah.
George Shaw: When you bring the rea -- a reactor up, a pressurized water reactor, the minute you start generating heat you get a bump, but that bump will also tamp the reactor down a bit, because it's temperature dependent, and that's what happened.
We got -- we were bringing the reactor up and at the point we expected to see this little bump, it didn't happen and just came up a little bit more, and didn't happen. And then we dropped the control rods back down, and everybody is pondering what the heck's going on.
And I started rolling out the one strip chart, and there I called the plant -- plant superintendent, the Warrant Officer. I called him over and I said, "Look at that." And at the very bottom of the script chart was two little squiggles of ink. And so, "Whoa, yep, that looks like it."
And then they did some recalculations and decided we had to go back in. Pulled it and measured where the neutron instruments were and reset them. Yeah, that -- that one was -- was interesting.
Patience Stuart: Yeah. How -- how do you -- how did you go in? I mean, did you -- did you have tools that went in or did somebody actually -- Tell -- tell me a little bit more about that.
George Shaw: I did not go in and do any of that kind of work. They had to, of course, drain the entry tube into the vapor container and go in and lift the head on the reactor to reset the instruments.
I was in there when we refueled. And I'm -- I'm one of those people who have seen the blue radiation from the spent fuel tank through 20 feet of water, of course. But, yes. Yeah, you're bringing back memories. Patience Stuart: Sure.
Kevin Taylor: Well, good memories I hope. Some of them at least.
George Shaw: Yes, generally. Yeah. Yeah, the -- Kevin Taylor: So -- So I have to
George Shaw: -- the very last year there was not so good, and it was -- Well, I don't know. Just the idea of -- because there was a core in the reactor, a qualified operator had to be in that control room all the time. And you're staring at instruments and never move, and nobody knows what they're going to do.
The job came up here in Kenai and -- and I -- I resigned in '68, came down to a petrochemical plant and worked for Union Oil for 20 years.
Kevin Taylor: Did your experience at -- within the -- the nuclear program with the Army, did -- did it -- you think it provided you with additional benefits throughout your career? Or was it --
George Shaw: Oh, yes. Kevin Taylor: You think it was just kind of like a stop on the road?
George Shaw: I got hired as an operator and moved right up to a lead man, and then a shift supervisor within 4 years, I think it was. I ended up a day supervisor and my area of the plants was all of the auxiliary. We generated our own electricity, had our own water wells.
Of course, for 1,500 pound steam, you have to have high purity water. So, all that kind of work fell on my shoulders after we doubled the size of the plant here. So, yes, I would say it definitely helped me.
Patience Stuart: Absolutely.
Kevin Taylor: What about your -- your thoughts before you started working on -- on nuclear power, and after you started working on nuclear power? And thoughts of -- of your family and -- and -- and those others around you? And -- And did they worry about you working in nuclear at the time or were they just -- You know, at that time it was still pretty early.
George Shaw: At that time, in the '60s, nobody had a lot of worries about the nuclear power plants. That was long before -- What was the one in Pennsylvania? Nine Mile Island or whatever. Or Fukushima for that matter.
There were concerns of people downstream north to northwest of the plant, off the reservation, there at Fort Greely, about contaminated water. But I don't think anything was ever proven about that.
The contaminated water had to be held through the winter times because of freeze ups, and then pumped -- diluted and pumped into Jarvis Creek.
No, in fact -- In fact, from the original design of the plant to what was actually put in, they had three times as much capacity for contaminated water. Yeah.
Patience Stuart: Where was the water stored during winter?
George Shaw: North of the plant building, underground. A concrete containment area. And I couldn't tell you the size of the tanks, but from just guessing, I would say they might have been 10,000 gallons each. But that's -- that's just a rough guess.
Patience Stuart: Okay. Now, you --
George Shaw: In fact, they would still be there, of course.
Patience Stuart: Now, you were there for quite a long time. And from what we've heard, the enlisted men who were operators were there on shorter terms. You know, 2 years or less. And so, did you -- do you feel like you saw a fair amount of comings and goings of crew?
George Shaw: Yes. We had -- The crews were pretty tight knit and we got to know everybody. We would socialize together a couple of times a year. Yeah, I can remember quite a few, well, holiday time parties and things like that.
And then, like I think I said, a lot of the people in the program who had been in from the beginning and had 20 years at the army, would -- would retire and go to work up there.
Patience Stuart: Do you remember anyone in particular from your time there, that you worked with?
George Shaw: Gordy Stolla (sp?), O'Brien, Paul Miller. I'm thinking Valenzuela, but I might have that name wrong. He was an instructor at the school when I went through, and came up there later.
I'd have to go back and look at some other stuff I have and see if I could figure out anybody else.
Patience Stuart: Sure.
George Shaw: You mentioned somebody in this area, Soldotna, as having worked there.
Patience Stuart: I did. David Applebee?
George Shaw: You know, I know don't recall that name. So he could have came up there after I -- Patience Stuart: Later. George Shaw: -- went.
Patience Stuart: I think that's the case. He was there more into the '70s, I believe. George Shaw: Yeah.
Patience Stuart: We haven't interviewed him yet, but I've had just a little bit of contact with him. And I can put the two of you in contact. So do you remain in -- in touch with anyone from that time?
George Shaw: Not anymore. I did see one of them, the one I'm not sure of the name, Valenzuela. He happened to live in the California area, close to one of the Union Oil plants. And supervisory people for big companies like that get sent to other of their plants for strike training when they're doing their union negotiations. So I went to the California refinery at San Francisco Bay and the carbon plant they had there at different times. And he lived somewhere in that area. I think all we got together was a telephone conversation, but --
The others, I -- A couple of them used to come to down here to Kenai for bowling tournament deals, Miller and O'Neal, or McNeil. But, no, nobody else from up there actually came and worked where I did.
Patience Stuart: I see. Do you have any other memories from being on the job that you would like to share? Any -- any days where things didn't go as expected?
George Shaw: No. Strange as it may sound, you got used to -- to having the plant scram on you and shut itself down automatically. And I think that was because of the training in Virginia, especially on the simulator, where the instructor could put a problem in and hope you could figure out how to solve it. But people say, "Oh, they scrammed the reactor, wow. What'd that do?” Nothing. It just shut down.
Patience Stuart: And you'd have to restart it? George Shaw: Yes. Patience Stuart: Yeah.
George Shaw: And, of course, if the reactor went absolutely cold, everything cooled down to ambient, it was quite a long process.
There was something with heating up the -- the metal in the reactor systems. I'm trying to think of this complicated name, nil-ductility transition temperature. You had to heat the reactor metal, on piping metal, before you raised the pressure. So, the pumps -- the primary coolant pumps put heat into the system. And I believe it was something like 8 hours from a cold start before you started raising pressure by bringing the reactor up.
Patience Stuart: And how often would you have to do that? Or how often would the reactor scram?
George Shaw: I could not recall. I couldn't tell you. Being on shift for a lot of that, you don't get all of the ups and downs.
If the reactor scrams for a problem that was easily solved and nothing had cooled off, you can bring it back pretty fast. Patience Stuart: I see.
George Shaw: The -- the way the reactor controls were built, if anything happened, the control rods dropped in -- Gravity put them down along with the drive of the rods. So --
Kevin Taylor: Would it surprise that if I told you that today the -- the diesel steam plant and -- and backup electric generator still use the switch gear from the original SM-1A plant?
George Shaw: The backup generator? Kevin Taylor: Well, the -- so --
George Shaw: I'd kind of asked if they were -- We had an arrangement where we could use steam from the plant boilers to run the generator at a reduced load. Are they using that?
Kevin Taylor: Well, they -- they hav -- so they have a steam plant there, and -- but they -- they get elec -- I believe they get electricity off the grid, and then they have a -- they have backup genera -- electric generators at the steam plant that are -- that are diesel-fired.
George Shaw: We had three 1,000 KW diesel electric generators and three boilers in the original plant.
Oh, yes, yes, I had heard that they had put a fourth diesel generator in. So, that might be what they used the controls -- the electrical switch gear for.
Kevin Taylor: But -- but they still use the orig -- some of the original switch gear.
George Shaw: Yeah. Well, that was the -- the original switch gear was a standard GE electrical switch gear. We had the same thing here at Kenai. Yeah. There was nothing special about the electrical and the steam turbine generator or the switch gear.
Kevin Taylor: Do you recall any incidents that -- that made you think, "Hmm, maybe I'm not in the right place right now?" Any accidents or -- or any other kind of just, you know, strange incidences? I mean, you mentioned one about the --
George Shaw: Just the one about that startup that -- Kevin Taylor: Yeah. George Shaw: -- that -- That we had to -- had everybody scrambling to figure out what happened. And it was a misplaced indicators of radiation or neutron transmitters. Yeah.
Patience Stuart: We've had a few people -- Oh, go ahead.
George Shaw: The steam generator leak, of course, was putting contaminated steam out into the post heating system, and especially to the post laundry. Because the contaminated steam could leave deposits in steam traps. And I don't think it ever got to the point where it was dangerous for the people working, but it could build up over time.
And like I say, when I left, they had not made any decision on repairing that steam generator. I heard later that there was an extra steam generator at Fort Belvoir that they brought up and modified and put in.
And at that point, the Army was giving up on the nuclear power plant ideal, and they used the SM-1A to use up all of the cores that had been built for the various nuclear plants.
Patience Stuart: We heard that, too. Kevin Taylor: Yeah. That -- that is true. They -- they did replace the steam generator. In, I believe, '68.
George Shaw: No. It was still not there in August of '68. Kevin Taylor: Okay.
George Shaw: That's when I resigned. And I didn't hear about anything happening up there about that until a year or two later. And it would've taken them maybe, well, I don't know, 6 months or whatever to -- to do the change over, I believe.
Kevin Taylor: Yeah. Maybe it might have been during '69 and '70, that they replaced that and they operated 'til '72.
George Shaw: '73?
Kevin Taylor: '72. They shut down in March '72. Yeah.
George Shaw: Okay. See, I was hearing about all this stuff 6 months to a year after it would happen. There wasn't much publicity about it.
No, my -- That sitting there, like I said, in a cold iron plant wasn't very good. When I went up for a job interview in Fairbanks with Union Oil, four of us from the plant went up. And I know one other person who was offered a job, but didn't take it. I think he had a year or two before his 20-year military retirement, and he didn't want to give that up. But he never followed through after that. Yeah.
Patience Stuart: But you were all interested in a change at that time? George Shaw: Pardon?
Patience Stuart: You were all interested in a change, the four of you went up to interview?
George Shaw: Yes. It didn't look like they were going to do any repairs. And so -- I don't know how many people might have applied. The four of us were asked to come up to Fairbanks and take a job interview. Patience Stuart: Hm, mm. I see.
Kevin Taylor: So for you, it was more of the -- the job itself that kind of -- that led you out. We've -- we've heard others -- others we've spoken -- one gentleman who's -- who it was the fact of being up there in Alaska and -- and he was single at the time and didn't have -- you know, all the other servicemen were married and he -- There wasn't much to offer him.
And then we spoke with one -- one gentleman who just really loved the hunting and the fishing and everything. And he -- he seemed to really enjoy his time up there. But I guess you being a -- from Alaska, you -- you were familiar with -- you knew what you were getting into from a -- an environment standpoint, but it was just the work got a little monotonous for you, huh?
George Shaw: Well, yes, it -- Yeah. Especially with the shutdown. And -- and the wife was tired of 40 degrees below zero winters. I knew that.
After about two winters up there -- Well, we had been down on the Kenai, one summer or fall on a trip, and she jokingly said as we were leaving Kenai that, "George, if somebody builds a power plant down here, why don't you transfer?" So, 2 years or so later when -- well, we were sitting there doing nothing and the jobs were coming up, I said, "Well, you want to transfer to Kenai? I'll put in."
Patience Stuart: Sure. Kevin Taylor: There you go.
Patience Stuart: Did you have kids while you were at -- at Greely, as well? George Shaw: Yes. Patience Stuart: Yep.
George Shaw: Well, we had one child in Virginia when I was in school. Barry was born there. Two were born in Fairbanks, John and Bob. And our next daughter, Kathy, was born in Kenai. Two of them in Kenai. Yeah.
Patience Stuart: Do they have any young memories or do you have any memories of them, you know, being little up there?
George Shaw: No. We lived off post. Actually, about 15 miles from Fort Greely up toward Fairbanks. And -- Well, the wife and I, like I say, would socialize with the group on post sometimes. But, other than that, not that much contact with the post.
Patience Stuart: Sure. Yeah. We've had a couple of people mention that they escorted fuel during the refueling. Is that something that you ever participated in?
George Shaw: Escorted?
Patience Stuart: Yes. Where they would -- George Shaw: Oh, Okay. Yes. Patience Stuart: -- you know, escort fuel.
George Shaw: They had casks to put the new fuel to -- bring the new -- Well, they had empty casks and full casks. The new fuel would come up in these casks and the old fuel would come out and go into a cask and all of that transport was under a 20-foot of water shielding. And then the cask had to go back by truck to Fairbanks and by rail to Anchorage or Whittier, one or the other, and then be shipped. Yes. People had to escort the fuel casks.
But I never -- No, I never did that. We only did the one refueling when I was there and it must've been people that came up from Virginia with the new fuel and went back with the old fuel at that time. But I don't recall any -- anybody from the plant doing it.
That might have been how some of the people got up there and decided they might have wanted to transfer, too.
Patience Stuart: Sure. Right.
Let's see. Are there -- are there any other memories you'd like to share with us?
George Shaw: Ah, not right now.
Patience Stuart: Okay. Well, we really appreciate that you've taken the time to -- to do this and talk through your time up there, your experiences, and great contribution that you've made to the -- to the program. And the Army Corps of Engineers will appreciate this interview.
George Shaw: Well, that's -- that's good. I'm glad I can remember some of the things.
If you want to do a good Zoom conference, give me a couple of days to dig through the slides. That has to be where the pictures I'm thinking of are. And then we can set up a time and do that.
Patience Stuart: Okay. Sounds good. Why don't we be in touch? Let's get in touch in the next couple of days.
George Shaw: Okay.
Patience Stuart: Okay. Thank you. Kevin, do you have anything else?
Kevin Taylor: I do not. I appreciate the -- I appreciate the time and the information. It's very helpful.
Patience Stuart: We definitely do. Okay. Well, if -- George, do you have anything else to say? George Shaw: Nope. Patience Stuart: Okay. George Shaw: You? Patience Stuart: Alright, I'll go ahead and -- George Shaw: Okay. Patience Stuart: -- conclude the interview and -- and turn off the recording.