Merson Booth, 88, a retired nuclear engineer with the old Atomic Energy Commission, died Oct. 26 at his home in Bethesda. He had Parkinson’s disease, his son William Booth said.
Mr. Booth was a 1946 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis. Early in his naval duty, he was assigned to work on the U.S. nuclear weapons program in Los Alamos, N.M.
In the early 1950s, he was recruited by Adm. Hyman S. Rickover to participate in the early development of the Navy’s first nuclear-powered vessels.
While serving in the Navy, Mr. Booth attended graduate school at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, receiving advanced degrees in naval architecture and marine engineering in 1953 and in nuclear engineering in 1955.
He resigned from the Navy as a lieutenant commander in 1958 and joined the Atomic Energy Commission. He worked in reactor development and retired in 1972 as chief of systems.