In Kodak's Basement: Nuclear Reactor
Imaging giant had enriched uranium in Rochester
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted May 14, 2012 10:31 AM CDT
Kodak had a nuclear reactor in the basement.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Would nuclear war have made a good Kodak moment? Until 2006, the company could have found out: It had 3.5 pounds of weapons-grade uranium stashed in a nuclear reactor in the basement of its headquarters—right in the busy city of Rochester, New York. It remains unclear why the uranium was there; only a few US officials and engineers knew about it. A nonproliferation expert calls it "such an odd situation because private companies just don't have this material."

Housed inside a concrete wall two feet thick, the reactor was apparently used for imaging and to detect impurities in supplies; the Democrat and Chronicle calls it one of the only nuclear research reactors on the planet, adding that there was no danger of an explosion. Kodak says no employees had access to it, prompting Gizmodo to wonder who operated it. Rochester's current officials weren't aware of the equipment, which Kodak obtained in 1974. The Democrat and Chronicle learned about it through a former Kodak worker.

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Showing 3 of 14 comments
May 14, 2012 7:56 PM CDT
It was right there next to the toilet paper and snapple.
May 14, 2012 4:36 PM CDT
How Kodak got their hands on weapons grade uranium (90% enrichment) is the hard question here... A research reactor would only require enrichment of about 20%.... 3.5 pounds of highly enriched uranium is not even half of what is needed to produce a nuclear device... Furthermore uranium is by no means rare....It's in glass and rocks and concrete and soil... If you get a chance to use a Geiger counter you might be surprised just how much of this stuff is near you.....
May 14, 2012 4:01 PM CDT
So this was in my backyard till when? I guess it's a good thing terrorists never targeted Rochester.