In Kodak's Basement: Nuclear Reactor

Imaging giant had enriched uranium in Rochester

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted May 14, 2012 10:31 AM CDT

(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.

Kodak had a nuclear reactor in the basement.
Kodak had a nuclear reactor in the basement.   (Getty Images)
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