Kodak had a nuclear reactor hidden in the basement for 30 years
Lately we have heard from Kodak for their difficult financial situation , however, this is something that few expected to hear: the company had hidden a nuclear reactor in an underground bunker, settled there 30 years ago no one knew about it until today.
Kodak bought the reactor in 1974, known as “Flex Californium Neutron Multiplier”, and installed in a bunker with concrete walls 60 cm thick in Rochester, New York. Apparently there was never any problems with the device, although it had 1.5 kilos of enriched uranium.
The reactor was used for research (not to make bombs), and is the type that can be found in some universities, for example. Kodak’s research was to detect impurities in chemicals, using Neutron Activation Analysis, where a sample is bombarded with neutrons. Some isotopes in the sample absorb a portion of these neutrons, becoming radioactive and emit gamma rays. With the proper equipment, scientists can measure radiation levels and determine which items are in the sample.
Kodak used an isotope of californium -252, quite common. Although it could just work with the isotope, Kodak wanted more neutrons to improve the sensitivity of the analysis, for what would be useful to install the small reactor. With it, researchers could use larger samples of californium or uranium plates used to multiply the neutron flux. Kodak used uranium – 1.5 kilos to be exact.
To assemble a bomb requires about 45 kilos, so relatively speaking it was not much. Kodak said that the matter was safe and could not operate because there is a nuclear power plant, but that only works for research. Although the device has been mentioned in some documents, never made public.
Radioactive material was now seized by the government and transferred to a facility in South Carolina, under the program to eliminate the material that is potentially dangerous in different hands in the world.Kodak, Neutron, Nuclear, nuclear reactor, Radioactive, Uranium