on July 9, 2013 on 7/9/13 from ,

Reactor Tour

We study at the nuclear reactor. It is no more than 25 meters away from our classroom and it IS safe. There are tons of precautionary measures that ensure our safety. Whenever we tour the facilities one of us gets a dosimeter with records the amount of radiation we’ve been exposed to. This is then analyzed by a health physicist after we are done. We also have to use a machine that determines whether or not there is contamination on our hands and feet that we can expose others to. It is important to note that there is radiation everywhere in the environment and nuclear power plants and debris from previous weapons account for less than 1% of our yearly exposure.

We got to see the reactor core. Unlike in most movies the reactors and the radioactive material isn’t an oozing green substance but rather rods are placed inside a holder that are lowered into water. The water around glows blue due to interaction between the water molecules and the energy of the Beta particles being emitted during the collisions. It is a beautiful ethereal blue.

In the afternoon we were invited for happy hour at the pub in the basement of RID. Apparently, in the Netherlands every single academic building has a pub located inside of it. Think about having a pub in the ECJ basement. It was really awesome. Several of us got to try a variety of European beers. We mostly tried Belgian beers because according to our Dutch bar-tender they are the best. They all generally have a higher alcohol concentration than traditional American beers; they are on the orders of wine usually.  I personally fell in love with the Westmalle Dubbel. It is a Trappist beer which means it is made by monks. Everyone had a great time.