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Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory

Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory is a U.S. Government-owned research and development facility operated by Bechtel Marine Propulsion Corporation and located in the Pittsburgh suburb of West Mifflin, Pennsylvania. It solely focuses on the design and development of nuclear power for the U.S. Navy and was one of the leaders in creating the "nuclear navy".

The laboratory was founded in 1949 on the site of the former Bettis Field and is named after Cyrus Bettis. It covers approximately 207 acres (0.84 km2)[1] and is operated for the Department of Energy (DOE) by Bechtel Marine Propulsion Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Bechtel Corporation. Bechtel won the contract to run the laboratory on September 19, 2008 and assumed operation on February 1, 2009;[2] Prior to that the Lab was operated by another Bechtel subsidiary, Bechtel Bettis, Inc. From the Lab's founding until 1998, it was run by Westinghouse Electric Corporation.

The laboratory's work is part of the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program, which is a joint U.S Navy-DOE program responsible for the research, design, construction, operation and maintenance of U.S. nuclear-powered warships.

The laboratory developed USS Long Beach (CGN-9), and the USS Enterprise (CVN-65) .[3]

Westinghouse's Nuclear Power Division adapted the PWR design for commercial use and built the first commercial nuclear power plant in the United States, the Shippingport Power Plant in the west hills of Pittsburgh.[4]

The laboratory has two computers listed on the 26th TOP500 List (November 2005) of supercomputers in the world. Ranked 97 is a 1,090 processor Opteron system and ranked 405 is a 536 processor Itanium 2 system.[5]

The laboratory is also home to the U.S. Navy's Bettis Reactor Engineering School. The school provides a post-graduate certificate program in Nuclear Engineering with a focus on nuclear reactor design, construction, and operations.[6][7] It is open only to Naval personnel and Bettis engineers.

The laboratory had been chosen to develop the Project Prometheus nuclear power source for the JIMO (Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter) project, however, funding for this program was cancelled in the fall of 2005.


  1. ^
  2. ^ Bechtel Corporation: Bechtel Awarded Contracts for Bettis, Knolls Laboratories
  3. ^ IEEE - IEEE History Center
  4. ^ Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory - United States Nuclear Forces
  5. ^
  6. ^ Personnel Management in the Department of Energy (DOE)
    Naval Reactors (NR): A Potential Model for Improved
  7. ^


  • (2005). "Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory". Weapons of Mass Destruction. Retrieved 2005-12-29. 

External links

  • U.S. DOE's Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory site
  • Bechtel Bettis' Bettis Laboratory site

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