Kodak used to have its own nuclear reactor

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Kodak is perhaps the only camera company that has had a fully-functional nuclear reactor on their premises, a fact that was recently uncovered. The situation may not be unique but if any other company has access to one they’re not telling anyone about it.

The nuclear reactor which was until 2006 concealed in a basement at Kodak’s Rochester, New York facility was revealed by the Democrat and Chronicle after they heard about the device from a former employee. The reactor, a Californium Neutron Flux multiplier, was installed in 1974 and remained at Kodak Park until 2006 when it was dismantled and sent to a storage facility.

It was loaded with 3.5 pounds (about 1.6kg) of weapons-grade enriched uranium and was used to check some chemicals for impurities. It was also used for neutron radiography testing. Kodak had reportedly used a similar reactor at Cornell University for these tasks prior to acquiring one of their own.

The reactor was reportedly well guarded and securely housed in two-foot thick concrete while being accessed remotely by a pneumatic system. According to the original report, it was not a power plant and it never leaked.

The reactor was not a total secret, it was mentioned in research papers and obliquely referenced on certain public documents. On the (understandable) silence surrounding the nuclear reactor’s installation and existence, Kodak spokesman Christopher Veronda is quoted as saying “The federal authorities oversaw the process and we deferred to them on all matters related to it. Clearly the decision was that it was best not to publicize it.”

Source: Gizmodo via Digital Trends

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