by Christopher Freeburn | May 14, 2012 3:34 pm
Kodak (PINK:EKDKQ) was doing a lot more than just developing new film at its Rochester, New York, research facility.
Only selected company officials knew it, but the complex was home to a small nuclear reactor, according to the Star Gazette.
The reactor had a stockpile of three pounds of enriched uranium.
Buried underground in a high-security part of its research complex, the reactor was never used for power generaetion, and thus represented no risk to the public, Kodak officials say.
Federal regulators oversaw the dismantling and removal of the reactor in 2007.
While Kodak officials never talked about the reactor in public, its existence had been noted in a small number of federal research documents.
Word of the former reactor hit the press when a former Kodak employee mentioned it to the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle several months ago.
Experts cited by the Star Gazette termed the reactor “odd” because private companies typically don’t have access to high-grade uranium — which is also used in nuclear weapons.
The company likely used the reactor to conduct neutron radiography and test materials for impurities.
While keeping the quiet about the reactor while it was in use might have been reasonable, it also seems that Kodak failed to mention its existence to Rochester city officials, which might have presented a problem in the event of an emergency.
Kodak is currently facing bankruptcy after the spread of digital cameras ruined its film processing business.
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