Elected in 1985
“For technical leadership in the design, construction, and highly successful operation of pioneering commercial nuclear electric generating plants.”
BY JOHN TAYLOR
SOL BURSTEIN retired from the Wisconsin Electric Power Company in 1987, capping a highly productive and successful career in power engineering; the design, construction, and operation of nuclear-powered electricity-generating plants; and electric utility management. Sol was the public face of nuclear power for many years; he spent numerous hours testifying before state, federal regulatory, and congressional committees about nuclear power: its promise, its risks, and keeping it safe. Not content to rest on his laurels in his later years, he undertook consulting work—largely pro bono—on nuclear power safety and radioactive waste management. Congestive heart failure led to his death at the age of 79 in Falls Church, Virginia, on January 28, 2002.
Sol was born in Chelsea, Massachusetts, in a tenement building, at 69 4th Street Rear. With $100 that he’d borrowed from his brother Joe, Sol went to Northeastern University on the co-op plan and graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering in 1944. His co-op work, design, and sea trials of Baltimore-class heavy cruisers at Bethlehem Steel’s Fore River Shipyard in Quincy, Massachusetts, became his first job after college. At the shipyard, Sol witnessed a terrible accident: a 360-ton-capacity crane moved a 300-ton load without incident; the second load of only 15 tons snapped a cable and killed