ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Most retirees are happy to fold their tents and depart, but Ken Deller left the American taxpayer the equivalent of approximately $100,000 when he went. The gift will make it slightly less expensive for the United States to visualize world peace.
Deller, who retired April 17 from engineering satellites at Sandia National Laboratories, had helped test nuclear devices in Nevada almost three decades earlier. He recalled that the same alloy used to build boxes that protect electronic gear against radiation from outer space is also used for special tunnel doors to block radiation from underground nuclear devices at the Nevada Test Site.
There are no more nuclear test explosions in Nevada.
Deller called former co-workers and learned that a thick slab of unused alloy was still at the testing site - enough to make more than 90 of the boxes used to house electronic imaging packages in satellites. Material for each box costs nearly $1,000.
Said Deller, "I knew there might be excess material and it seemed a reasonable thing to call up and find out."
The 7,000-pound slab was fork-lifted onto a commercial truck and shipped to Sandia in Albuquerque last summer.
Plans are for it to be recycled for use in space beginning in approximately the year 2000, with the 13th in a series of 21 Global Positioning Satellites meant for use in treaty verification observations.
Sandia is a multiprogram laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a Lockheed Martin Company, for the United States Department of Energy.
Neal Singer, firstname.lastname@example.org (505) 845-7078