I am overcome with grief as I announce to you the passing of our dear friend and colleague of over three decades, Dr. Stanley Turner. Dr. Turner, 84, breathed his last on August 8, 2010 in a hospice in Palm Harbor, Florida.
As most of you know, Dr. Turner was one of Holtec’s early stalwarts who played a central role in the development of the Company’s wet storage and dry storage technologies in the ‘80s and ‘90s. Dr. T, as legions of his acolytes called him, graduated from the University of Texas in 1951 and immediately set out to harness the wonders of the neutron to serve humankind. Young Stan Turner’s patent on neutron logging from the ‘50s was used by the industry for mineral exploration and later evolved into the so-called Blackness Testing to detect degradation of Boraflex installed in high density fuel racks. The Blackness Testing technology is being used in the industry even today since its introduction by Dr. Turner in the mid-‘80s.
At the height of the cold war, Dr. Turner served his country by helping the U.S. government piece together, from paltry data, the status and menace of the secretive Soviet weapons program. Experts from the government and the industry eagerly sought out Stan’s unique insights to solve knotty technical problems until his last days, unfailingly awed by the razor-sharp intellect and the awesome recall of scientific facts in an increasingly frail body. Modest in bearing and taciturn in mannerism, Stan Turner’s intellectual legacy will live on for decades in the form of innovative solution techniques that he pioneered and the many young engineers who he mentored. Formidable as his gifts to nuclear energy are, they are no less substantive to the local community in which he lived since the early ‘70s. Scores of men and women in the Tampa area were raised to adulthood by Stan Turner as they turned up at his church or his home as orphaned boys and girls or abandoned children. His home was an open house to all children in distress, his hard earned money directed to feed, clothe, and educate them. Erudite in biblical studies, Stan Turner lived the life of an ideal Christian and an Episcopal minister. Yet, he viewed the world with the questioning and objective mind of a Darwin or a Galileo. He reconciled the piety and conformism of religion with the intellectual rigor of a scientist in a manner that forever fascinated me.
As a scientist, Dr. Turner was convinced that nuclear power held the key to solve the world’s energy deficit. In recent years, as commercial nuclear power began its comeback, Stan Turner felt personally vindicated. He forever regretted participating in the atomic bomb project early in his career, believing that the military antecedents of nuclear energy had unfairly tarnished its credentials and made its public acceptance more problematic.
A self-effacing life lived nobly and modestly in service to his community and his country is how we will remember Dr. Stanley Turner, a prince of sagacity and a renaissance man.
President and CEO, Holtec International