Rickover, Hyman George, 1900–1986, American admiral, b. Russia. In World War II he served as head of the electrical section of the navy's Bureau of Ships. After the war he was assigned (1946) to the atomic submarine project at Oak Ridge, Tenn., and helped convince the navy that nuclear sea power was feasible. Rickover directed the planning and construction of the world's first atomic-powered submarine, the Nautilus, launched in 1954, and other of the U.S. navy's nuclear-powered ships. Rickover later became chief of the Naval Reactors Branch of the Atomic Energy Commission and was in charge of the nuclear propulsion division of the navy's Bureau of Ships. His naval career was marked by a certain amount of controversy because of his outspoken opinions and unorthodox methods, traits which interfered with promotion until pressure was brought to bear from supporters in Congress. He was finally promoted to rear admiral (1953), vice admiral (1958), and admiral (1973). He was on active duty until 1981; in 1982 he retired.
See biography by N. Polmar and T. P. Allen (1982).
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