Alpha Beta Gamma…Kitchen Table!?

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Please read the entire post below…but if you don’t have the time, you can watch the video first:

First off, this latest deluge of radioactive posts is not a joke.  I hope to share my knowledge and curiosity of the radioactive world that surrounds us.  You are kindly invited to join me.  Here is why:

Fallout Shelter Sign

When I was a young boy in elementary school, there was a sign on the outside of our building identifying it as a fallout shelter.  The sign was the familiar radioactivity hazard symbol and for me, it was like a beacon that drew me in to the amazing science it represented.  I am also a synesthete and the shapes and colors of that symbol still trigger a deep emotional response in me, 25 years later.  The sign shown here looks like black (invisible) radiation exploding outward, and yellow radioactivity falling downward (fallout).  As far as the emotional response, it is extremely difficult to put into words.

 

UU Triga Reactor
UU Triga Reactor

In my 6th or 7th grade year, I got to visit University of Utah and their 100 kW TRIGA Nuclear Reactor.  I am sure that they don’t let kids in that facility now days, but I got to peer into the deep water tank.  It was there that I observed the creepy blue Cherenkov Radiation for the first time in my life (I will blog about that soon). The reactor is still in service today and is an important component of the University of Utah Nuclear Engineering program.

UU Triga Reactor – Cherenkov Radiation

Over the years that followed, going in to high school, I achieved the Atomic Energy merit badge in Boy Scouts and enjoyed the hell out of the parts of Physics class that were about sub-atomic particles.  Then I graduated high school and went into the Air Force.

Working in the military lead me to southern Nevada, where 10 gazillion nuclear bombs were detonated for research and testing at the Nevada Test Site.  I found a video on YouTube that showed the Amchitka Island test in Alaska.  It blew my mind and led me to seek out every nuclear test video I could fine and to learn all I could about how nuclear weapons worked and how they were invented.  I bought a vintage geiger counter and it didn’t work.  Being that I didn’t have the time to figure it out, it collected dust until I threw it away.  Years passed and I kept my fascination with nuclear things, but didn’t really pursue it until March of last year.  It was then that I learned about an abandoned nuclear power facility in Washington state.  The Satsop Nuclear Power Plant was an apparent money pit and the developers was spending more money than they had available.  They managed to build the massive pair of 480ft tall cooling towers and some of the reactor buildings before completely abandoning it.  It may be the closest I ever get to a nuclear power facility.  I have dreams of a tour of Hanford one day–if it wasn’t so deadly, I would love to see the superfund site.

Satsop Nuclear Power Plant
Satsop Nuclear Power Plant – March 2017

Well that was a really really long explanation of why I like nuclear things.  And I apologize for the portrait mode video and all the other things I didn’t do quite right–but this is the start of more fun posts and videos.

2 thoughts on “Alpha Beta Gamma…Kitchen Table!?”

  1. The basement in my elementary school was a fallout shelter as well. Don’t think it would have done much good, as the school was only about a mile from a SAC base. We had B-52’s full of H-bombs flying over our school and neighborhood all day and night. It was the late sixties.

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