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Chicago Pile 2 & Chicago Pile 3 - Site A and Plot M Disposal Site - Illinois
#1
This weekend I spent a day at the old Argonne National Laboratory Site A and Plot M site just outside of Chicago, Illinois.  The Enrico Fermi-designed Chicago Pile (CP-1), the world's first nuclear reactor, was deconstructed from the University of Chicago and rebuilt as CP-2 at the top-secret Site A complex in 1943.

   

Finding the site for the first time is not too difficult, but be prepared for a hike.  

   

Also be prepared to cross a few streams.

   

With any luck you will come across the abandoned site entrance road in the middle of the Red Gate Woods.  The camera is positioned where the old security tower would've been, making me an easy target for the guards that would've been stationed there 70 years ago.

It is a little eery walking through an abandoned top secret site, even long after the buildings have been razed and leveled.  I always find myself imagining what it was like seven decades ago.

The Forest Preserves of Cook County have erected some nice signs with some background information on the site.

   
"All models are flawed, some are useful."
George E. P. Box
 
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#2
   

As you walk to the center of the site, where CP-2 and CP-3 were located, you come across a stone marker that has been inscribed upon and left behind.

   

   

   

Make sure to bring a site map and a gps unit so that you can identify the different areas were difference facilities were.  We were able to come across some pretty incredible finds just sitting on the surface, but you have to get off the beaten path and find the right areas of the site.
"All models are flawed, some are useful."
George E. P. Box
 
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#3
Thumbs Up 
Excellent!   Good reporting and pics.

The legacy of Nuclear will keep on polluting long after we're gone.   Sad 

Never forget...
 
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#4
Looking like you should be in a food forest and not a rad site, Lucas. Great expedition, photos & reporting.
Pia
just pm me if needed.
 
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#5
We were equipped with dosimeters, detectors, and I brought my BNC SAM 940 isotopic identifier, however there wasn't really enough time to do a full site rad survey. I was able to find a few questionable areas where the count rates were elevated, but the metal detector really helped out a lot.
"All models are flawed, some are useful."
George E. P. Box
 
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#6
(08-22-2016, 02:41 PM)LWH Wrote: We were equipped with dosimeters, detectors, and I brought my BNC SAM 940 isotopic identifier, however there wasn't really enough time to do a full site rad survey.  I was able to find a few questionable areas where the count rates were elevated, but the metal detector really helped out a lot.

Sounds like enough for a foundation map if anyone wanted to do a more extensive survey. Does any agency provide follow ups on data collection? Like every five or ten years? Bet that "collection" is sparse if it even exists.
Pia
just pm me if needed.
 
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#7
They used to perform annual investigations, but that wasn't a comprehensive site survey, just a visual inspection.

I'm sure I'll stop at this site a few times in the next year and work to detect any potential hotspots over time.
"All models are flawed, some are useful."
George E. P. Box
 
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#8
(08-22-2016, 02:48 PM)LWH Wrote: They used to perform annual investigations, but that wasn't a comprehensive site survey, just a visual inspection.

I'm sure I'll stop at this site a few times in the next year and work to detect any potential hotspots over time.

lol... they think they are working when all they do is look around, taking no samples, aye?! terrible shame. Glad you are on top of it. Your findings will mean a lot for the long-term effects data investigations and research.
Pia
just pm me if needed.
 
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