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Karl Santone

Karl Santone worked as an Operator and Health Physicist at the SM-1A Nuclear Power Plant at Fort Greely, Alaska. He was accepted to the Army Nuclear Power Program’s school at Fort Belvoir, Virginia in the second class of 1959. The training program lasted about one year, with instruction from captains and majors who were mostly West Point graduates. Coursework involved physics, math, and technical subjects including electronics and mechanics. Following graduation, Karl worked as an instructor at SM-1 for about six months, teaching new graduates how to troubleshoot bugs in reactor systems. In 1960, he volunteered for an assignment at Fort Greely and arrived on site while the reactor was still under construction. He spent the first couple of weeks at the base doing a radiochemical study to establish the baseline data for the project and surrounding site. During this time, he also worked with a warrant officer to develop an after-action report and the manual for operating the reactor. As an operator of the SM-1A, Santone helped ensure the reactor was accomplishing its mission to provide power for the base and some of the surrounding community. As he recalls, a typical day involved “watch diodes, as opposed to being physically involved with doing a lot of the operating. Once the reactor was up and providing steam, the generator started warming, and you sat there and watched it.” Outside of work, Santone took advantage of the extensive library on base, attended limited social events in the area, and went fishing. After his 18-month assignment at Fort Greely, Karl returned to work as an instructor at Fort Belvoir before being assigned to support the deactivation of the reactor in Thule, Greenland. Santone also served in Germany and Vietnam before leaving the Army and becoming a lawyer. He is now retired and lives in Gordonsville, Virginia.

Karl Santone appears in the following new Jukebox projects: