Hyman George Rickover (January 27, 1900 – July 8, 1986) was a four-star admiral in the United States Navy who directed the original development of naval nuclear propulsion and controlled its operations for three decades as director of Naval Reactors. In addition, he oversaw the development of the Shippingport Atomic Power Station, the world's first commercial pressurized water reactor used for generating electricity.
Rickover is known as the "Father of the Nuclear Navy", which as of July 2007 had produced 200 nuclear-powered submarines, and 23 nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and cruisers, though many of these U.S. vessels are now decommissioned and others under construction.
With his unique personality, political connections, responsibilities, and depth of knowledge regarding naval nuclear propulsion, Rickover became the longest-serving naval officer in U.S. history with 63 years active duty.
Rickover's substantial legacy of technical achievements includes the United States Navy's continuing record of zero reactor accidents, as defined by the uncontrolled release of fission products subsequent to reactor core damage.
As quoted by President Jimmy Carter during his 1984 interview with Diane Sawyer:
"One of the most remarkable things that he ever told me was when we were together on the submarine and he said that he wished that a nuclear explosive had never been evolved. And then he said, 'I wish that nuclear power had never been discovered.' And I said, 'Admiral, this is your life.' He said, 'I would forego all the accomplishments of my life, and I would be willing to forego all the advantages of nuclear power to propel ships, for medical research and for every other purpose of generating electric power, if we could have avoided the evolution of atomic explosives.'"
To read more about Hyman G. Rickover, read his page on Wikipedia.