You learn a lot of strange stuff on the Internet. Some of it is even true.
Of things I have learned online that appear to be true this one, if it is true, has got to be among the strangest: Kodak Had a Secret Nuclear Reactor Loaded With Enriched Uranium Hidden In a Basement.
It really gives a whole new possible meaning to ‘too big to fail’. Do we need to inquire of major corporations if they have signed the Comprehensive Nucclear Test-Ban Treaty? What if CitiBank or JP Morgan have nukes?
Kodak, now in bankruptcy, says it had the reactor in order to do radiological tests of the purity of materials. And it dismantled the whole thing under government supervision in 2006. Just a few years later Kodak went into Chapter 11.
Could this explain why Kodak isn’t getting a government bailout? I kid, I kid. I hope.
Kodak needed a neutron source, so they got a license and built one. There are all sorts of uses for neutrons in industrial testing and imaging. For example, neutron activation analysis can measure the composition of incredibly small samples. Kodak, I gather, had a relatively large one which suggests larger scale applications. In fact, once you have a good neutron source in house, you’ll probably come up with all sorts of uses for it, for example for finding flaws in materials, measuring bulk compositions, manipulating isotopes and so on. Once you get used to having neutrons around, it’s probably hard to imagine how one ever got by without a reliable source.
There are probably a fair number of similar sources out there in industrial settings, research laboratories and universities. The first nuclear reactor was built at the U of Chicago. MIT and Columbia both had a research reactors on campus. Hell, my high school had a cyclotron for making isotopes, though it seriously needed repairs by the time I arrived.
Kodak has(had) a line of film for radiographic weld testing, I suspect thats what the reactor was for.