Orlov, George M.; Weinberger, Joshua
April 2004
Baseline;Apr2004, Issue 29, p28
This article presents the benefit obtained by the author from his experience as a nuclear engineer at Three Mile Island Nuclear Power Plant in Pennsylvania. The engineer had done work to determine where nuclear materials were disappearing. He helped develop some of the technologies to gauge nuclear materials inside large, irregularly shaped containers. Certain substances within the containers mask the amount of radiation actually there, but by measuring the readings from two different locations, one can roughly triangulate where the material is. The engineer's primary challenge was measurement. No one knew precisely what was inside the reactor building. When people got to the site, they were trying to figure out ways to measure all the different spots. People were sent to collect water and air samples, then analyzed the results on gamma-ray spectrometers to see what was in them. At one point, the engineer went into the reactor building. A suit keeps him from becoming contaminated, but radiation still goes right through. When the engineer began working at Commonwealth Edison, the company had a massive store of underutilized data. He quickly put together a dozen people to suck data out of the mainframe and put it into a series of 60 SQL server data stores.


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