Jimmy Carter Was Not a Nuclear Reactor Engineer

When commenting on nuclear policy, in particular on Jimmy Carter's termination of processing of spent nuclear power plant fuel at Barnwell, SC, some people say

Jimmy Carter was a Nuclear Engineer in the Navy.

Jimmy Carter graduated from the Naval academy, with distinction, in 1946. He served two years' surface duty as an Ensign, being assigned to the USS Wyoming (E-AG 17). He applied for submarine duty, serving as executive officer, engineering officer, and electronics repair officer on the submarine SSK-1.

He was interviewed and selected by then-Captain Hyman G. Rickover to serve on temporary duty with the Naval Reactors Branch of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission. He was promoted to Lieutenant and served in that capacity from 3 November 1952 until 1 March 1953.

In March 1953, Jimmy Carter enrolled in a class to teach sailors how to operate the nuclear power plant on a submarine.

During the summer of 1953, Jimmy Carter's father passed away.

On 8 October 1953, as he was preparing to become an engineering officer on the USS Seawolf, one of the U.S. Navy's early nuclear powered submarines, Jimmy Carter quit the class and resigned his commission to return to Georgia to operate the family farm. He was honorably discharged on 9 October 1953, and transferred to the retired reserve at his request, retaining the rank of Lieutenant.

The U.S. Navy's first nuclear powered submarine, the USS Nautilus, was launched on July 17, 1955.

Jimmy Carter did not finish the class, and he never worked in a nuclear-powered ship.