Webb, Richard E. (1939-) | Purdue University Libraries, Archives and Special Collections
Richard E. Webb received his B.S. in engineering physics from the University of Toledo in 1962. In September of 1962 Webb began graduate studies for a doctorate in physics at Case Institute of Technology under a full fellowship granted to him by Case Institute but he enlisted in the U.S. Navy after listening to President John F. Kennedy’s October 22, 1962 address to the nation about the Soviet nuclear missiles then being installed in Cuba. In May 1963 Webb entered the U.S. Navy as a line officer at Newport, Rhode Island. He served for 4 years in the Navy in the Division of Naval Reactors, U.S. Atomic Energy. One of the hats Webb wore while working for the U.S. Navy was junior engineer for the nuclear reactor part of the Shippingport Pressurized Water Reactor, the first civilian nuclear power plant in the United States. Also during his time in the Navy Webb attended and received a certificate of completion from Bettis Reactor Engineering School, Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory, U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) in 1965.
After finishing his commission with the Navy Webb worked at the Big Rock Point Nuclear Power Station, owned and operated by the Consumers Power Company, from 1967-1968 as an associate engineer.
Webb was offered a position in the Liquid Metal Fast Breeder Reactor Program Planning Office, Argonne National Laboratory, in January 1968 but declined the offer in order to begin a doctorate in nuclear physics. He received his Ph.D. in nuclear physics and engineering from Ohio State University in 1972. His doctoral dissertation deals with the subject of explosive power transients (nuclear explosion accidents) in liquid metal, fast neutron, plutonium breeder reactors-popularly called “fast breed reactors.”
Webb engaged in post-doctoral studies of nuclear reactor accident hazards and the Constitution of the United States at Indiana University in the Institute for Science, Technology, and Public Policy from 1972 to 1974. He was involved with research and teaching at the University of Massachusetts from 1974 to 1976 which culminated in the publication of his book The Accident Hazards of Nuclear Power Plants. Webb continues full time research in both nuclear hazards and the constitutional law of the United States.