Have you ever been inside a nuclear reactor?

I test and inspect three fire suppression systems at a nuclear plant. I have never been inside the reactor, but one of my systems protects the Service Water Intake structure which pumps the water into the reactor for cooling and to drive the turbine. I have been through the reactor building a few times. One trip resulted in the loss of a hard hat that would not pass though the radiation detector at the exit. The guy I was working with told me that it was not uncommon, and could have been caused by the hard hat being expose to sunlight…

I used to work there during the design and construction phase. I spent at least half a day each week poking about the place. On my top three list were the steam-punk magnificence of the calandria, the hobbit tunnel a kilometer out under Lake Ontario, and the towering tritium removal facility.

Yes. That is me on the right.

Of course, as have several other ex Navy nukes here.

The first time I entered the reactor compartment, I was stunned by how tight it was in there. I’m a pretty skinny dude, and I found myself wriggling through very tight squeezes. A chubby guy would never make it in.

I just heard that the government put aside some funds to build a new facility in Timmons or Thunder Bay to produce the isotopes that used to come from Chalk River.

Yes, we had to learn some basic safety operations as part of disaster training in a former occupation.

I took a tour of Three-Mile Island as part of a school group once. We got cool dosimeter badges. We didn’t go in the reactor that was damaged, only the other one, and I can’t remember any more exactly what we were shown.

Not school group, come to think of it; it was a summer science program.

No, but I have a friend whose dad was a physicist in Germany. Her middle name is Desy.

I’ve seen the backup diesel generators at Browns Ferry, but I didn’t get to visit the nuclear part of the plant.

Was at Oak Ridge facility when I was a kid. It was a kind of museum open to the public. Our family were the only people there. Long stretches of seeing no staff even.

I’m surprised over half the respondents have been in one. I thought it wouldn’t be that high.

Yeah but the other 400 people who’ve viewed this thread (till now) haven’t responded; their answer is “no.”

Well, views are not the number of separate people who’ve viewed the thread. But you’re probably right that people who have been in a reactor will come running to vote.

Depending on what counts, I’ve visited one of Sandia National Lab’s research reactors or maybe it was the Hot Cell facility. You had to get onto Kirtland AFB, then get into Tech Area III, then into Tech Area V, and of course you had to be visiting on the once-every-ten-years Family Day. Saw the Z-machine the same way and had seen whatever they had it set up as a decade earlier as a young kid.

On second thought, that might have actually been the Saturn Accelerator. It’s been a long time and I’d have to call Dad and see if he remembers.

Yep. They give tours for Mother’s Day Weekend.

Indeed. I’ve been in the engine room of numerous nuclear-powered ships, including a dozen or so submarines and one surface ship (a cruiser).

I’ve actually been inside the reactor compartment (while the reactor was shut down, of course) on the two plants I qualified on, the D1G prototype plant, and the S6G plant on Los Angeles-class submarines.

Interestingly (well, to me, anyway), despite vast differences in the two plants, both had the same reactor core (the D2W core).

Agreed. I’m not particularly skinny, and I remember squeezing around the ion exchanger (which picks up a lot of radioactive contamination from the circulating reactor coolant). As I squeezed around it (basically hugging it), I remember thinking that I’d be pretty screwed if I got stuck. I also remember fervently hoping that the shielding around the exchanger was in good shape, because my 'nads were right up against it as I squeezed past.

I’ve been on a tour of the Bruce plant on Lake Huron, in Ontario. Also walked by the reactor buildings at Chalk River, but never went in.

D1G :cool: