Hanford Nuclear Processing Plant

Visited the (no longer) top secret Hanford B Nuclear Reactor in Washington. This reactor was used to create Plutonium used one of the nuclear bombs (Fat Man) used to end World War II. The tour was amazingly nonrestrictive allowing us to get up and close and even inside the reactor room and control room. Controlling your own nuclear power plan is pretty basic with a lot of manual monitoring of many dials. This image is the main control room: (Click images to enlarge)

There are basically two indicators of a problem within each of the 2004 tubes where the reaction occurs. Temperature and pressure. Here are the 2004 thermometers:

And just when you thought that these might be high-tech, behind the scenes are simple thermometers that measure based on spiral metal springs.

Here’s a picture of the end of 2004 tubes used to generate and control the nuclear reaction.

Safety concerns were very real and nuclear dangers are still being cleaned up.

Here’s a fascinating picture. This plant hasn’t been used since the 1960’s but you’ll see the covers off of the cooling pipes below. The reason the covers are off because Russia is still returning to verify that the plant is not functioning. This is a left over from the cold war.

If you have any interest in history or science, this tour is a must. And did I mention it was FREE.

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