It was 71 years ago today, December 2 1942, when the very first controlled nuclear chain reaction on earth was started in the "atomic pile" built in the squash court at the University of Chicago. Rod Adams has more details
Exactly 15 years later, the first commercial nuclear power station at Shippingport went critical for the first time. Thus swords were beaten into plowshares, and 56 years on some 1.8 million people who would otherwise have lost their lives to air pollution from fossil-fuel combustion lived instead.
Now we need to clear the air of something far less obvious than smoke and acids, but much more critical to the earth. Let's hope we wise up in time.