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Oak Ridge National Laboratory

       The X-10 reactor was originally designed to provide plutonium, through neutron capture by uranium 238. Once the project got started, several buildings were raised to support X-10, and do the chemical separation, of the gram quantities of plutonium being produced. It was soon decided that this was too involved a project to be done here, along with all of the other work, and that a much larger facility, dedicated specifically to this task should be built. X-10 became a prototype for the larger plant to be built in Hanford Washington. In addition, much work was done here on isotope research, and the reactor was run until 1963. The surrounding area has grown into the ORNL (Oak Ridge National Laboratory), and is one of the premier research and computing centers of the world.

       Today, the ORNL has more modern reactors, used in producing various isotopes for medical or research uses. It is also the home of the Neutron Spallation Project, as well as the High Flux Isotope Reactor; both are leading edge tools for physical research, along with Oak Ridge’s own linear accelerator. Other physics tools include the californium User Facility, used for irradiating projects with high energy neutrons, the Center for Neutron Scattering, and a radioactive ion beam source. There is also a nanotechnology center, biotechnology facilities, and numerous materials and industrial research labs.

Because this is a national laboratory, it is an open lab, available to researchers, industry, or even individuals, provided they can submit an acceptable proposal. Proprietary research, which is not shared, must be paid for; but any researcher who publishes work done here, uses the facilities free of charge. This is the system under which all national laboratories work.

Welcome to oak Ridge National laboratory. The facility is gated; but it is not a high security compound like Y-12. Security here is probably no more than what you would find at most factories, or offices.
Many of the old structures still remain, though their numbers are diminishing.

Below is the radioactive ion beam facility - only one of the many tools and labs available here.
Like Argonne, Fermi, and the other national laboratories, ORNL is located in a very pleasant park like campus.
The administration building at ORNL.
The main buildings of the campus. From here, roads lead to the various labs, facilities, and research centers.
There are many legacies of the work done here, not all of them welcome.
One of the legacies of the place consists of the few remaining structures from the early days. This particular building was used by Einstein for some of his researches, which is one of the reasons that it is still standing. Most of the other old wooden building, as well as the early metal sheds are gone.
In many ways, this and the other facilities resemble large industrial plants. Most of the service buildings in this photo are from the early days.
Not all of the land taken was used. Much of it was to provide cover and protection for the facilities. Many signs of the little farm communities still stand, often in the form of churches and cemeteries.
This is a barricade, which is designed to be raised in about a second, in case of a security breach.
A more permanent barricade. A fair number of these are visible throughout the grounds.
The Spallation Neutron Source, used for high speed neutron bombardment and experimentation.
Heading toward the entrance to the spallation complex. Much of the facility is underground.
Most of the facility  is off limits to casual visitors. what we were allowed to see was the welcome center, map, and a series of displays.
This is as close to the modern reactor at Oak Ridge as we are allowed to get. This is a research reactor, which also produces a number of isotopes, some of which can be purchased at .

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