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William "Bill" Hellums
William E. "Bill" Hellums worked as a Specialist E6, Operator and Health Physicist as the SM-1A Nuclear Power Plant at Fort Greely, Alaska. He graduated from the Army Nuclear Power Program School in the second class of 1964. Following graduation, he moved to Alaska with his wife and two kids to work as a Process Control Technician and Health Physicist at SM-1A. His first assignment at Fort Greely was to help with the refueling process in 1965. Bill recalled, “working with poles about 20-foot-long, pulling the fuel rods out…and putting them into a stainless steel shipping container,” which he and a senior technician then escorted via railcar and ship to its final destination in Aiken, South Carolina. He returned to Alaska after the refueling mission where outside of work he enjoyed hunting, fishing, and foraging with friends and family. Bill’s daily work involved conducting routine tests, checking gauges, recording pressures and temperatures, and taking water, oil, and vegetation samples to ensure that the reactor was not contaminating the environment. Bill Hellums left SM-1A in 1968, but continued working with the Army Nuclear Power Program aboard the ship Sturgis that carried the MH-1A pressurized water reactor (the first floating nuclear power station developed to generate energy at remote, inaccessible sites). He served as the Health Physicist and Environmental Monitor on the Sturgis mission to Panama to supply power to the Panama Canal during a severe drought. He left the Army on July 3, 1969. In 1979, Bill consulted on Three Mile Island following the partial meltdown and subsequent radiation leak at Reactor No. 2. Later in his career, he started his own nuclear consulting business in California called "Decommissioning and Decontamination Specialists," which he retired from in 2000. Bill Hellums lives in Daly City, California.