The 1955 swimming pool reactor


At the U.N. Conference on Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy which opens in Geneva this August the U.S. will exhibit a full-sized working reactor. Last month the $350,000 swimming pool reactor, built by Union Carbide and Carbon Corp. for the AEC, was turned on (above) for a final checkout at Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

Lying safely beneath 16 feet of water, the plates of uranium began slowly to disintegrate inside their aluminum boxes, making the sur. rounding water glow blue from the radiation. The engineers smoothly raised and lowered the rods of boron carbide which govern the rate of fission. Then they switched the reactor off and left it to "cool" for a few weeks before hauling it out of the water for the trip to Geneva.


images and info provided by the LIFE Magazine / LIFE Magazine International / LIFE Magazine Atlantic ARCHIVE from the Zetu Harrys Collection


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