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Oakridge national Laboratory
        Oakridge is located just north Knoxville, in an area of ridges and valleys. It is an open city, and has been for decades, so visitation is simply a matter of finding it on a map and driving down; but some time are better for visitation than others. My trip took place during the Secret City Festival, which is held every year, on the third weekend of June. This is the best time to go, since there are special tours, exhibits, and displays.
Entering the technical exhibits, as the atom model begins to spin up inside.
Some exhibits on the evolution (or was that intelligent design) of nuclear medical devices, and nuclear physics. The board shown below gives an indication of who the nuclear pioneers were and what they accomplished.
This is a children's exhibit, where they can touch and manipulate certain parts of the diagram to see how a reactor works.
A reactor model, as well as a basic explanation of the working of a nuclear power plant.
Some exhibits demonstrating how uranium is enriched for power or weapon use.
Just how hot do fusion and fission reactions get, and how much energy is released by them? Well, this small exhibit tries to explain.
Some exhibits showcasing the amount of energy in fissionable materials, as well as the amount that could be released in fusion, or by direct conversion.
Visitors line up, above, and a mother and daughter feel the hand of static electricity, as it gently tousles their hair. The sensation of touching the generator is exactly like having a breeze blowing across you. There can sometimes be a slight spark of static, feeling like a rubber band snapping across the skin; but this does not happen if you keep your hand firmly in place.
One of the most interesting things to happen at the museum, does not happen at the museum at all. It is the DOE facilities tour, and is a chance for interested visitors to take a bus ride out to X-10, the K-25 area, and some of the facilities of ORNL, including the new spallation lab. Admission to the museum is $5, and includes the facilities tour.
Every day, during the summer, Oak Ridge sends a bus to the museum, to pick up any interested visitors, who may want to tour the facilities, and see just what they are up to here.
Just before the tour starts, we line up, about fifteen minutes early. Picture IDs are required, and our names are checked off against a list from the museum.
IDs need to be checked before proceeding. The visitor will be passing near, or through, some fairly sensitive areas
On board the bus for the DOE facility tour. This tour runs throughout the summer.
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