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OSU’s Nuclear Reactor Lab

 Written by    April 17, 2017

Did you know that the university has a nuclear reactor? Cause it does, right on West Campus.

It’s a pretty humble building.

There’s no need to panic–first of all, because it’s incredibly safe. Second, because it’s a Research Reactor, not a Power Reactor. This reactor doesn’t power anything except for the tried and tested scientific method–poke something and see what happens (metaphorically in this case, of course.)

Now, I hadn’t know that we had a nuclear reactor until I visited for a class. Unfortunately, currently they’ve temporarily suspended tours, but if you’re interested in the facility you can always check out it’s website. ‘Cause the place is pretty neat. From the obscene amount of buttons and switches present in the control room–

To the fact that nuclear physics is the closest you’ll ever get to alchemy. You can’t use the Ohio State reactor to change lead into gold, but you can change aluminum into silicon. And then, in my opinion, the coolest part of the facility–

The reactor itself.

It’s located in a 20-foot pool of water, it has four control rods–and that blue glow you see is the Cherenkov Effect. In real life, reactors placed in pools glow blue, not green. And hot radioactive glow orange. But even if it’s not that sickly green glow, watching the blue light of a nuclear reactor at the bottom of the pool is pretty and hypnotic.

Just don’t take a swim.


Image Links

All the photos, courtesy of https://reactor.osu.edu/pictures.

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