PITTSBURGH, PA, April 17, 2018 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Marquis Who's Who is proud to name James Edward Brubaker a Lifetime Achiever. With many years of professional engineering experience, he is recognized for his leadership, technical contributions and innovations on Naval and commercial reactor and Tomahawk and MX missile system designs as well as environment projects that protect our land and sea. Mr. Brubaker was a pioneer in the development of control rod drive mechanisms for nuclear submarines and holds numerous patents related to his work.
Mr. Brubaker was born to Samuel James and Mary Louise Brubaker in Chicago, IL on Feb. 24, 1935. Although his high school was just a few miles from the University of Chicago, he was unaware that Dr. Fermi's team was working there in secret to achieve the first controlled nuclear reaction; research that led to the atomic bombs that brought an end to World War II, events that influenced his future career. As an engineering trainee at John Deere during college, he operated one of the first self-propelled combines designed to harvest crops on hillsides. He earned his BS in Engineering from the University of Illinois in 1956 and stayed on as an Engineering Instructor while taking graduate courses.
The first nuclear powered submarine, the SSN 571 Nautilus, completed the first underwater circumnavigation of the world in August of 1958. Its reactor was designed and built by Westinghouse under contract with the US Navy/AEC at their Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory in Pittsburgh PA under the direction of Admiral H.G. Rickover. Mr. Brubaker started there in 1959 designing the electro-magnetic drives and high temperature pressure vessels for the control rod drive mechanisms needed for the planned fleet. CRDMs control reactor power by slowly moving the control rods into or out of the core; they can also shut down a reactor by rapidly releasing and inserting the control rods. In addition to analysis and testing, he edited the technical manuals and monitored reactor final assembly at the first five shipyards building the George Washington Class submarines, the first in the world capable of firing nuclear missiles. He remembers the awesome feeling walking between the missile tubes on the George Washington thinking what a powerful deterrent these ships would be. With no need for foreign bases, these submarines carrying missiles of unimaginable power, would sail undetected throughout the world's oceans protecting our country. They fulfill Teddy Roosevelt's advice to "Speak softly and carry a big stick" and Reagan's motto, "Peace through strength". These ships are still a major factor in maintaining world peace. He is proud to have had a part in their development.
With broad expertise in this field, Mr. Brubaker was appointed manager of Advanced Mechanism Development and served as Chairman of the Mechanism Design Committee that provided guidance to engineers in both the submarine and surface ship projects. He was also editor of the Navy's first CRDM Design Manual and their Military Specification for CRDMs. His group also investigated new control concepts and ultrasonic devices for measuring control rod position.
Mr. Brubaker next managed a Bettis team designing movable fuel drives to control the Light Water Breeder Reactor. This LWPR replaced the world's first commercial power reactor near Pittsburgh that was also built by Bettis. These drives were like Navy CRDMs except their load was 10 times greater. This project proved that a Thorium fueled breeder reactor was feasible. While working on this project he received a patent for an improved movable fuel module. The Core Barrel for the Advanced Submarine Project was six months behind schedule when Mr. Brubaker was assigned to manage the task. He proposed and executed a plan that avoided this delay keeping the project on schedule.
In 1975, Mr. Brubaker transferred to the Clinch River Breeder Reactor Project. This was a cooperative program between Westinghouse, private power companies and the government to "breed" an abundant supply of nuclear fuel at a time when America's future energy supply was in doubt. He invented the self-locking electric gearmotors needed to accurately reposition and secure the 500-ton core during refueling for which he received a patent. He also conceived an integral bull gear and bearing (23 feet in diameter) to support that 500-ton load. This equipment was successfully designed, manufactured and tested.
The CRBRP head access area was a 44-foot square concrete pit above the reactor where much of wiring, piping, lighting, ventilation, and refueling operations were located. The equipment and operations in this area were being designed by four major contractors around the country. As cognizant engineer, his job was to coordinate their work so everything would fit and function properly when it all came together. Although plant construction had started at the site near Oak Ridge TN, political pressures forced cancellation of this project in 1983.
In 1983, Mr. Brubaker served as project engineer for the Air Elevator Support Trailer, part of the Launch Support System for the Air Force's Peacekeeper Missile System. The AEST was required to provide controlled amounts of conditioned, pressurized air to gently lower this huge missile into its silo (and lift it out). The first two units were needed within two years. His first task was to consult with the prime contractor to establish the requirements and write the specification. His design team worked closely with suppliers and the experimental shop to avoid delays. Where ever possible components were tested in advance. The two units were completed and delivered to Warren AF Base, WY on schedule.
The EPA established the West Valley Nuclear Demonstration Project to remediate high level nuclear waste at an abandoned nuclear fuel reprocessing plant near Buffalo, NY. Its purpose was to prevent nuclear contamination of the region including Lake Erie in the event of a potential earthquake and flood. Westinghouse was selected as the prime contractor and Mr. Brubaker was assigned as principal engineer to coordinate construction of an earthquake proof, reinforced concrete, containment building. It was being constructed around an operating test facility encapsulating high level nuclear waste mixed into molten glass within stainless steel cylinders. When sealed these canisters would be sent to a secure national repository for final disposal deep underground. Heavy construction around these complex and dangerous operations represented a unique challenge. The containment building was completed safely on schedule and within budget. He was also principal engineer on a project for Bloomington, IN to remove PCB contamination remaining in and around several landfills after a local transformer manufacturing plant was closed.
Mr. Brubaker then moved on to the Westinghouse Marine Technology Division that provided a wide range of engineering services to the Navy. His creativity was needed to conceive new underway replenishment systems for loading Tomahawk missiles from a supply ship into their launch tubes in the deck of a warship underway in rough sea, a complex operation that had never been done before. Safety of the crew, the ship and the missiles were all prime considerations. Though his concepts and models were well received by the Navy, a change in their mission caused this project to be discontinued. Mr. Brubaker was principle engineer for the manufacture of primary coolant pumps for Navy reactors.
The Navy had a problem with shipboard trash such as kitchen waste, confidential documents, manuals, cardboard, wooden pallets etc. Previously it had been thrown overboard in plastic bags leaving a trail and violating recent environmental regulations. To solve this problem Mr. Brubaker led a team of engineers to develop the Large Pulper. This machine has a large, tilted stainless-steel drum with a loading chute on top. Inside was a sturdy rotor with heavy cutting blades immersed in seawater. An electric motor below spins the rotor rapidly to pulverize the waste into a slurry. When the waste particles are small enough the slurry flows down thru small holes in the baseplate and out into piping that expels it below the ship's waterline. The slurry disappears into the ocean with negligible effects on sea life or the environment. In 1995 Mr. Brubaker received an Environmental Protection Commendation from the Navy for this work. These Large Pulpers are still being used on all our Aircraft Carriers and other large ships.
The Navy also tasked Mr. Brubaker to prepare an Aircraft Carrier Weapons Elevator Manual to document the platform and door opening sizes for all the weapons elevators and weapons magazines on each ship. This information was needed by the personnel stowing the various missiles and bombs.
Mr. Brubaker and a coworker were presented the George Westinghouse Corporate Innovation Award for the invention of an improved power plant stack design.
When not designing new equipment to safeguard our security and environment, Mr. Brubaker actively serves his community. He was a Little League manager and basketball commissioner in their youth sports program; as President, he initiated their first softball leagues for girls. Since joining the Pleasant Hills Lion's Club 1974 he has participated in all their community activities and fundraisers and was president twice. His club named him a Melvin Jones Fellow and a Lions of Pennsylvania Fellow for his service. For his service as District Governor for Pittsburgh and Allegheny County (2005-2006) he was awarded the prestigious Lions International President's Leadership Medal. He is currently District Chairman for the Pennsylvania Lions Sight Conservation and Eye Research Foundation. He is also a life member of the U of I Alumni Association and the Phi Kappa Tau Fraternity.
Jim and his wife Phyllis were married in 1956 and have four grown children, David, Richard, Lisa, and Mark. They are now blessed with eight grandchildren and are very proud of their extended family. Jim still enjoys tennis, golf, reading, and travel.
Mr. Brubaker has been selected for inclusion in Who's Who in Science and Engineering, Finance and Business, Finance and Industry, and regions including America, the East, and the World. In recognition of his outstanding contributions, Mr. Brubaker is now featured among Marquis Who's Who Lifetime Achievers on their website. Please visit www.ltachievers.com for more information about this honor.
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