Kemp Ridley's sea turtleDec. 2, 1942:  Scientists stage the first successful nuclear chain reaction in a makeshift lab beneath the grandstand of the University of Chicago football stadium.

Dec. 2, 1957:   The first U.S. commercial nuclear reactor goes online in Shippingport, Pennsylvania.  U.S. President formally dedicates the plant as part of the “Atoms for Peace” program in May of the following year.

Dec. 2, 1970:  Decimated by shrimp trawlers, habitat destruction, and direct hunting, the Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle (at right) is declared a U.S. endangered species.

Dec. 2, 1980:  U.S. President Jimmy Carter signs the Alaska Lands Bill into law.

Photo: Wikipedia

This feature is compiled by Peter Dykstra, an MNN contributor and publisher of Environmental Health News and The Daily Climate.

The opinions expressed by MNN Bloggers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of While we have reviewed their content to make sure it complies with our Terms and Conditions, MNN is not responsible for the accuracy of any of their information.