We heart old nuke plant

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Last updated on August 6th, 2017 at 06:09 am

“Is it possible to feel affection towards a 50-year-old nuclear reactor capable of generating a maximum thermal power of 10MW? It certainly is.”

UPDATE. For other affectionate 1950s construction news, visit Lileks to learn of President Eisenhower’s connection to this North Dakota town:


UPDATE II. Margos Maid: “Speaking as someone who lives barely 3 km from Lucas Heights, I am living in constant fear that I will not get an invite to the opening of OPAL.”

Posted by Tim B. on 04/06/2007 at 11:20 AM
    1. 10 milliwatt? I think you mean 10MW (megawatt).

      Posted by Observer on 2007 04 06 at 11:51 AM • permalink


    1. Observer, you’re right. I’ll get it fixed.

      Posted by Tim B. on 2007 04 06 at 12:14 PM • permalink


    1. Billy McMahon. What a useless no-hoping self serving shit for brains.
      Toady, sniveller, back room bandit, gutless panderer, weak as piss.
      Put Australia back twenty years and alienated our best ally, the US, over Vietnam, the fucking weasel.

      You have probably guessed I despised that prick.

      Posted by Pedro the Ignorant on 2007 04 06 at 01:19 PM • permalink


    1. I think I’ve driven past that place in North Dakota.  If so I remember wondering what it was because it seemed to have the sort of buildings common to older military construction but didn’t look quite right as a former army base.

      The upkeep on that former school house is going to be more than the total price but dang…

      Posted by Synova on 2007 04 06 at 01:45 PM • permalink


    1. I visited Lucas Heights back in the eighties – my parents thought it would be educational, and it was; I ended up using a lot of information from their free booklets in my “how to build your own nuclear reactor” science project.

      (Sadly, it was just a report; I didn’t actually build anything.)

      Posted by Pixy Misa on 2007 04 06 at 01:45 PM • permalink


    1. Go nucular!

      Go nucular!

      Sorry, just having a little fun at GWB’s expense.

      But seriously, nuclear energy is OBVIOUSLY the way to go. We have tens of thousands of years of energy readily available in coal and uranium. Even without breader technology. By that time, we will have perfected fusion, and then the sky universe is the limit.

      Posted by Wimpy Canadian on 2007 04 06 at 06:16 PM • permalink


    1. And those terrorists wanted to blow it up.  Bastards.

      Posted by anthony_r on 2007 04 06 at 06:46 PM • permalink


    1. Mr. Lileks,

      Love that beautiful building. Price is fantastic. Have saved that page.

      Posted by El Cid on 2007 04 06 at 08:29 PM • permalink


    1. It’s fine and dandy for Mr Smith, but speaking as someone who lives barely 3 km from Lucas Heights, I am living in constant fear that I will not get an invite me to the opening of OPAL.

      BTW As well as providing vital services, nuclear reactors are a highly effective fuckwit repellent, and living near one is highly recommended.

      Posted by Margos Maid on 2007 04 06 at 09:57 PM • permalink


    1. Apologies if I am barking up the wrong tree here, but it sounds as if ANSTO had to commission its own documentary about HIFAR for historical purposes, and it sounds like it is due for broadcast, oh, nowhere soon.

      Why couldn’t the ABC’s documentary unit, or even Quantum, find the time and resources to do this?

      Posted by Margos Maid on 2007 04 07 at 01:10 AM • permalink


    1. Glad you enjoyed. Keep in mind that the town was built to support a dam, an evil nature-humiliating device that will probably called a Hubris Cliff in the near future. On the other hand, the dam – a big cement ball-gag over the river’s protesting mouth – produces electricity without belching out cubic buttloads of carbon, so that’s good. On the other hand, the powerlines that carry the juice no doubt give everyone within a 50-mile radius a case of full-body cancer, so that’s bad, and they probably powered North Dakota’s many nuclear-missile silos, which is off-the-scale bad.

      On the other hand, the farmers use the irrigation water to grow corn for ethanol, which is good because it replaces petroleum, but that jacks up the price for corn throughout the continent, leading to tortilla-price riots in Mexico, which is sad. It’s so complex, which is why I support banning plastic grocery bags. There. I’ve done my part.

      Posted by Lileks on 2007 04 07 at 01:46 AM • permalink


    1. #10
      Hear hear!
      When’s PRAVDA’s apolitical doco arm gonna air the doco?
      A buddy has lived in the neighbourhood for decades but says still gets NIMBYs moving in then ranting about a reactor that preceded them by decades.

      Posted by egg_ on 2007 04 07 at 04:11 AM • permalink


    1. Lileks linked to the Riverdale school being for sale and I feel obliged to point out that Riverdale High was the home of Archie, Jughead, Veronica and hot Betty. funny Archie & Betty comic book cover

      from the commenter Jim Green at the Telegraph : ”…propaganda about medical isotope supply is exposed every time the current reactor has been shut down for extended maintenance… the President of the Association of Physicians in Nuclear Medicine failed to notice a 3-month shutdown of the reactor.”

      You can tell he doesn’t heart nuke plants because he brings up something the article didn’t even mention. Not being a nuclear scientist I would imagine you could produce additional isotopes prior to a planned shutdown.  He also claims the facility will be ranked 25th not 3rd if ranked by a single parameter and therefore (because Jim said so) it is obsolete.

      Posted by Col. Milquetoast on 2007 04 07 at 05:16 AM • permalink


    1. #13 Australia can manage for short periods of time with imports of radiopharmaceuticals, but places at the end of long supply lines suffer, because of short half lives.

      It’s a tenuous situation that places Australia’s supply at the mercy of international airlines and other suppliers. In the case, for example, of another September 11 where all planes are grounded, Australia is stuffed.

      If I recall correctly, Jim is an old socialist alliance candidate who paved the way for the likes of Jakalene Extreme.

      I recall seeing Jim taking his friends around ANSTO with his mates from Greenpeace before they performed an invasion of the site in 2001, for the benefit of the media.

      Amongst other things, the result of Greenpeace’s stunt is that people in Perth and New Zealand who were dying of bone cancer didn’t receive their pain relieving medication, just before Christmas – thus disproving their own theory.

      My guess is that Jim was in on the stunt, in which case, I would advise him in the strongest terms to go fuck himself.

      Posted by Margos Maid on 2007 04 07 at 08:45 AM • permalink


    1. Land at Menai and other new suburbs around the Lucas Heights reactor was dirt cheap for years. Now it’s dear as poison and people complain about the reactor.

      Go figure.

      Posted by kae on 2007 04 07 at 05:04 PM • permalink


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