Have you ever been inside a nuclear reactor?

I’m curious how many people in general have actually been inside a nuclear reactor.

I was at Mizzou for a conference once, and being with a group of physicists, someone knew someone and got us a tour of the research reactor there. I’m not an engineer and I don’t remember the exact parts we went through, but we saw large pools of water illuminated by Cherenkov radiation. Very beautiful!

Anyone else been inside a reactor? Or want to see one? (Please stick to personal experiences and keep politics out of this thread.)

MrWhatsit and I visited the site of Experimental Breeder Reactor 1 (EBR-1) while on a road trip once. It was quite interesting, although I didn’t know nearly as much about how reactors work then as I do now, so I’d sort of like to go back and visit again sometime.

I haven’t, though I think it would be interesting.

My cousin spent one summer during college working at a nuclear plant, doing maintenance (including working near the pool full of spent fuel rods). As I remember, it paid quite well for manual labor, due to the (low but not nonexistent) risk. This is the same cousin who spent another summer inside smokestacks at a paper plant, replacing coal-smoke-scrubber filters.

I haven’t been INSIDE a reactor, but I’ve stood within feet of several reactors on US Navy vessels. Like, pressed my nose up against the little window through which one can see the containment structure for the reactor. It wasn’t thrilling.

Imagine if someone told you, “Look at this refrigerator. Inside there is an amazing creature – half unicorn, half octopus! Just stand here in complete wonderment that such an awesome beast is encased in that structure, completely out of your view… but only steps away from you!!” But really, all you see is a refrigerator. That’s what it was like. Hard to get worked up about.

I took a tour of a nuclear plant as a kid, if that counts. I have a vivid memory of them taking us through a room where the shafts from the turbines passed through; these huge floor-to-ceiling spinning steel pillars. That very loud constant THRUMMMMMMM vibrating my bones made an impression.

I spent most of last summer inside one and still do occasionally.

I toured one in Ontario a few years ago. It was very impressive. They are huge structures. There was a town that built up near it to house the people working there.
I wanted to see the blue glow of the dilithium reactor .

I remember this from a college field trip, a bit of googling suggests it was the research reactorrun by Imperial College London.

I voted no, but I would given the chance. I remember seeing the squash court at the Univ of Chicago (in all honesty, I don’t remember seeing the actual location, but we toured the University when I was…7? 8? 10? something like that, and hearing why the squash court was so important). But no matter, my answer stands in that I’ve never been in a reactor, but would.

I’ve visited one in the Netherlands. Don’t remember much of it beyond that it was a giant structure, and (like Pleonast) got to see the core submerged in water, with some neat Cherenkov illumination.

There was (maybe still is?) a research reactor at UMR when I was there. Did the tour a couple times.

I worked across the street from the MIT nuclear reactor when I was an undergrad, and went through it once or twice. Had to borrow some lead bricks from them one time - I vividly remember them checking them with a geiger counter before letting me sign for them.

I’ve toured… the Mizzou reactor. When I was at school there. I think the tour was for a program they’d started to turn off-color sapphires (or some other gemstone) blue by exposing 'em to radiation.

It was a bunch of chemical engineers on the tour, so we were mostly interested in the cool piping and such.

I assume you don’t actually mean “inside” the reactor, but on the power plant premises, in the visitor center, is good enough. Then my answer is “yes”. Several different ones, in fact.

While in high school, I went on a field trip to the now-decommissioned research reactor at the University of Virginia (looks like there were two; I don’t know which one I visited.) We were inside the building, looking at the pool, which was surrounded by lead bricks. We could see the Cherenkov radiation. I suppose we could have jumped into the pool if no one had stopped us.

I cautioned one of the other kids not to actually touch the wall of lead bricks. This kid was something of a know-it-all, and like certain people who have been vociferous since the disaster in Japan, he was certain that everyone who wasn’t gung-ho about more reactors was an anti-nuclear idiot. He sneered at my caution, and, to demonstrate his confidence in the safety of the operation, sat on the lead wall.

We waited in the bus with the nervous chaperones while plant personnel decontaminated his ass.

Radioactive, my ass. :wink:

I got a tour of Davis-Besse plant in Ohio when I was working as a reporter years ago, when we did a series on energy. The site itself is beautiful - it’s surrounded by a wildlife refuge.

I had a year out in industry as part of my Degree and work for the UK AEA at Winfrith. I worked on the SGHWR as a health physicist and spent a fair amount of time within the secondary containment and took one trip into primary containment. All the fuel rods had been removed to the cooling ponds as it was being decomissioned. Obviosuly getting into the reactor vessel was not an option. All I can say of primary containment was lots and lots of pipes, stairs, and Co-60.

No, actually, I’ve been inside a reactor. This was at the Darlington plant in Ontario, while it was under construction, and they hadn’t closed the reactor building in yet (let alone add fuel and moderator). We walked through the reactor building and paused in front of the calandria while the guide explained what it was and how it worked. (The fuelling machines were not yet in place, so we could see the ends of the horizontal tubes that would hold the fuel.)

The ones I’ve visited were all up and running, so of course they wouldn’t have let me into the reactor itself.