Nuclear Museum Logo
Nuclear Museum Logo

National Museum of Nuclear Science & History

John M. Vegh

Nuclear DrafterPittsburgh, PA

EngineerManhattan Project Veteran
John W. Vegh

In a communication to Stone & Webster Engineering Corporation, General Leslie Groves gave instruction to discontinue work on the Y-12 Alpha 1 4-J unit, and, authorized Westinghouse Electric Corporation to hire additional draftsmen to accelerate the Y-12 Alpha 2 30-J uranium enrichment program at Oak Ridge, TN.  Having graduated from Carnegie Institute of Technology in 1929 (now Carnegie Mellon University) with a Bachelor of Science degree from the Industries School, and having experience working for an energy producing company, e.g., Consolidated Coal, John Vegh was one of a number of draftsmen hired by Westinghouse Electric Corporation at their East Pittsburgh Manufacturing site in 1944.  Under the employ of Westinghouse, John went to work developing vacuum tanks, liners, ion sources, collectors, and centrifuges for the Alpha 2 Beta calutrons.

In 1949, John was invited to join the newly formed Westinghouse Bettis Atomic Laboratory to begin development of a pressure water reactor for use in naval propulsion, and, President Eisenhower’s “Atoms for Peace” program; culminating in the first atomic powered submarine (USS Nautilus) and first commercial atomic power station at Shippingport, Pennsylvania.  John remained involved in the development of atomic power through the balance of his career with Westinghouse Bettis Atomic Laboratory until he retired in 1972.  

Information submitted by Vegh’s grandson, John Corrigan.

John M. Vegh's Timeline
1909 May 3rd Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
1929 Graduated from Carnegie Institute of Technology (Carnegie Mellon University).
1944 Joined the Manhattan Project at Westinghouse Electric East Pittsburgh as a draftsman on the Y-12 Alpha 2 30-J Beta Calutron uranium enrichment program at Oak Ridge, TN.
19491972 Employed by Westinghouse Bettis Atomic Labortory to work in Admiral Rickover’s “Nuclear Navy” propulsion program and President Eisenhower’s “Atoms for Peace” initiative.
1972 Retired from Westinghouse Bettis Atomic Laboratory.

Naval Reactors logo

Letter from Stone & Webster to General Leslie Groves, p. 1

Letter from Stone & Webster to General Leslie Groves, p. 2

Alpha 2 Calutron

USS Nautilus Pressure Water Reactor

The USS Nautilus

Shippingport Pressure Water Reactor

Alpha 2 Calutron

Related Profiles

E. S. Andrew

Hanford, WA

L. V. Tyner

Hanford, WA

Donald S. Dreesen

Los Alamos, NM

John D. Strong

X-10 Graphite Reactor

Attended the University of California.