Naval Research Laboratory Reactor film from 1958

By Dr. Nick Touran, Ph.D., P.E., 2024-04-07 , Reading time: 9 minutes

As a follow-up to our previous digitization announcement, I’m now pleased to post the following.

This film describes and shows the swimming pool type reactor used for basic research. It talks about the planning, shows some scenes from construction, describes the reactor, explains the various experimental facilities, and shows the hot cell and manipulators.

This reactor used plate-type fuel enriched 90% in U-235 with 20 mil aluminum cladding. The reactor was suspended from a movable bridge and could be operated out in the pool, or placed in a niche surrounded by graphite and beam ports. In the pool, the critical mass was 3400 grams of U-235, but when the reactor was positioned in the niche, the graphite reflected neutrons enough to reduce the critical mass down to 2700 grams. The reactor was initially authorized to operate at 100 kW, which could be cooled by natural convection of the water.

This film was originally shown at the 2nd International Conference on the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy in Geneva, 1958 (2nd “Atoms for Peace” conference) as part of the US technical exhibit. The graphite thermal column was surrounded by 7 ft. thick concrete shielding.

Thanks again to Last Energy for sponsoring the digitization of this film!!

This is film 88192 in our catalog.

Reader comments