Ok so the title is a bit of a challenger statement and I am not going to detail how you can purchase a personal nuclear power plant…that would be ridiculous, dangerous and would likely cause me to be placed on no less than a dozen government watch lists. But somehow in the infinite wisdom of someone, somewhere it was seen as a good idea to allow now bankrupt Kodak to own and operate a Nuclear Power Plant in the heart of downtown Rochester, New York.
Now what could a company possibly need a Nuclear Reactor that kept 3.5 lbs of Weapons Grade Uranium at the ready and why was it not better known before the bankruptcy of the once successful company? I could get all conspiracy theory and make wild accusations about what kind of terrible things were going on down in the basement of Kodak but I don’t think that that was actually the case. The reality is the reactor was likely used to test chemicals for impurities, as well as run neutron radiography tests.
To put things into perspective, the first Atomic Bomb dropped on the city of Nagasaki in 1945 (This was the L-11 bomb better known as Little Boy) had 85 lbs of the same Uranium 235 that the Kodak Reactor had.
So the fact that for 30 years, none of us (including the majority of the 145,000 that were employed by Kodak at its peak) that this Nuclear Reactor existed or that they were running experiments under their feet in a “secret facility”.
The real question that comes to mind is what other companies out there have some how sweetened the government coffers and got the Department of Energy to allow them to have reactors built in their basements? When I think of Nuclear Energy I think of a tightly regulated and government protected power plants spread around the globe. We fear the fact that the Russians may sell a Terrorist enriched uranium but the fact that a private company held onto 3.5 lbs of weapons grade uranium until 2006 is more than a little scary.
If the Spy Novels and Movies are correct in their assumptions of the Black Market Value of this radioactive metal…many of Kodak’s money wows could have been taken care of by a less than patriotic Executive looking to balance the books for a failing company…and even though it didn’t happen this time…if there are other reactors out there…what is to stop them from selling the materials to the highest bidder…it is capitalism after all!
But I digress…this did not happen and while it does bring to question what other 1970s and 80s reactors are sitting in the basements of other corporate headquarters…it is not likely that there was ever any evil doing planned by the Kodak Scientists…Or Was There???
What other wild technology wonders await the downfall of corporate giants in the future?
Chris J Powel