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Nuclear safety

Summer 2010

You, too, can run a nuclear reactor

Particles moving faster than the speed of light. Elements transmuted from one to another. A million watts of power. Hands-on practice controlling a nuclear reactor.

These are some of the selling points of Chemistry 490, a specialized elective class offered by Donald Wall, director of WSU’s Nuclear Radiation Center, which houses the university’s research and teaching nuclear reactor. The course, which has been filled to capacity both times it’s been taught, gives students of all backgrounds a chance to learn enough about nuclear reactors to pass the formidable exam to become a federally licensed nuclear Reactor Operator (RO).

For the students, the class is … » More …

Winter 2003

Working to prevent another Chornobyl

“While it is devastating to see the impact of the Chornobyl accident—both economically and socially—international nuclear safety has advanced significantly because of this incident.” — Susan Senner

Teams of communications professionals at the Hanford Site in Richland, Washington, juggled shifts to respond to hoards of news media calls in April 1986 about a catastrophic accident at the Chornobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine. Susan McKenna Senner worked with this group, responding to questions about Hanford’s N-Reactor, which had some design similarities to the ill-fated Chornobyl plant. The Hanford crew manned phones and provided reassurance that multiple safety systems in place at N-Reactor would prevent such … » More …