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Oak Ridge National Laboratory Nuclear Reactor Tour

Oak Ridge National Laboratory Nuclear Reactor Tour

  • Author: admin
  • Date Posted: Jul 6, 2011
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The research town of Oak Ridge was established during World War II to safeguard the secrecy of the Manhattan Project.  This site was the place where they refined the Uranium metals to use in the Hiroshima nuclear bomb.  Also, they used this material to construct one of the first functioning nuclear reactors on the planet.

The tour starts at the National Laboratory center, and then you are shuttled around the grounds to the reactor building.

There is a lot of space between buildings, and we finally got to the main lot.

The reactor hasn’t been in production for decades, so it’s safe to enter without being irradiated.  Not only that, but the building is a nuclear tourism museum, littered with placards and artifacts throughout the building.  Just like this newspaper from the end of WWII.

They let you meander around the place as long as you want, because the shuttle goes back and forth from the center to the reactor every few dozen minutes.  Glenn spent most of his time hitting on geriatric ladies.

The reactor room is really interesting.  Much smaller than the Hanford Reactor in Washington state, but still very intricate and complex. All the electronics (what little there is) is archaic, directly from the 1940’s.

They even let us into the control room, which has ancient gauges and indicator lights.  The electrical on this project must have been elaborate.

Overall, it was a great site to visit.  This place, especially any Manhattan Project site, is a must-visit for anyone like us who is a major nuclear tourist.