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National Museum of Nuclear Science & History

Bob Cook is a nuclear engineer and consultant. He began his career by earning a B.A. in Physics from Washington University. In 1962, he enlisted in the Navy for Officer Candidate School, and completed basic training. He was then assigned to the Naval Reactors Program (NR) to work in the NR headquarters in Washington, D.C. A small group of naval officers started the NR in 1946 at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. In 1963, he completed schooling for nuclear engineering at the Bettis Atomic Power School and began working for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

Cook spent the majority of his career working with Naval Reactors. He helped create the structural design base for naval reactors, which later became the design basis for all nuclear plants, set by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. He worked for the NRC until his retirement in 1988.

In 1983, the NRC assigned Cook to work at Hanford, under the Basalt Waste Isolation Project (BWIP). During this time he conducted interviews with numerous individuals and gathered secret information, in order to conduct reports on BWIP. His work later helped to reveal previously classified reports on Hanford. His reports also revealed environmental risks, poor assessments, and health hazards occurring at Hanford throughout the 1970s and 1980s.

In 1991, Cook began to work with the Yakama Nation. He primarily worked as a consultant for Russell Jim, a member of the Yakama Nation. Through his consultant work, he helped the tribe to advocate for cleanup of Hanford, under their Environmental Restoration and Waste Management Program, and for the protection of the treaty rights of the Yakima Nation. In 1997, Cook retired.

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