- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 18, 2006

Harry Mandil, a pioneer in the field of nuclear engineering, died of cancer April 27 at the Chateau at Moorings Park hospice in Naples, Fla. He was 86.

Mr. Mandil was born Dec. 11, 1919, in Istanbul to a French mother and American father. He graduated from the University of London in 1939 and earned a master’s degree in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1941.

He later graduated from Tennessee’s Oak Ridge School of Reactor Technology in 1950 and, in 1960, received an honorary doctorate from Thiel College in Greenville, Pa., for his pioneering work in nuclear power.

During World War II, Mr. Mandil served as an officer in the Navy’s Bureau of Ships in the District, where he worked on electrical-power distribution systems for ships.

After the war, he worked for an engineering company in Newton, Mass., and returned to the District in 1950 to work in the naval-reactors program under Hyman Rickover, “father of the nuclear Navy,” who said Mr. Mandil was the best engineer he had ever met.

Mr. Mandil served as the director of the Reactor Engineering Division for the Bureau of Ships and as chief of the reactor engineering branch for naval reactors on the Atomic Energy Commission.

He was involved from the very beginning with all aspects of the development, design and application of nuclear-reactor cores and associated equipment for the propulsion of submarines — such as the Nautilus, the world’s first nuclear-powered sub — and surface ships, such as the Long Beach and the Enterprise.

He participated in the development and design of the Shippingport Atomic Power Station near Pittsburgh, which was the world’s first large-scale civilian nuclear plant for the generation of electricity. The station was a demonstration of President Eisenhower’s “Atoms for Peace” program.

In 1964, Mr. Mandil left the naval-reactors program and became one of the founders of MPR Associates Inc. in Alexandria, which provides engineering services to industry and government with an emphasis on the generation of electricity by nuclear and fossil fuels.

He retired as the company’s principal officer in 1985 after 21 years of service.

During his career, Mr. Mandil received numerous awards, including a Navy Letter of Commendation in 1946, the Meritorious Civilian Service Award in 1952, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers’ Prime Movers Award in 1956 and the Distinguished Civilian Service Award in 1959.

He was a registered professional engineer in the District and a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and American Nuclear Society.

Mr. Mandil also wrote numerous technical papers on engineering and is listed in Who’s Who in the World, America and Engineering.

He was a member of the Secretary of Energy’s Advisory Board in the District and was on the visiting committee for the Nuclear Energy Department of MIT. He was a Paul Harris Fellow of Rotary International.

Survivors include his wife of 59 years, Beverly Mandil of Naples; daughter Jean Brolund of Ellicott City, Md.; son Eric Mandil of Denver; and three grandchildren.

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