Sunday, April 15, 2012

The End

Under three hours to go now. People are beginning to appear, milling around in an anxious, fidgeting kind of anticipation, waiting for an event no one as yet comprehends. The HRIBF ceases operation at midnight Eastern Daylight Time tonight. And when it does, we will be here.

Nobody quite knows what to expect. Will DOE call us and tell us when to pull the plug? Do we get to sneak a few last minutes in because our clock isn't synced with an official time server? Will someone give a speech, or sing a dirge, or lock themselves in the ORIC vault? Will anyone cry?

There's a countdown clock running on the large monitor in the control room, where the operators sit and tweak the beam current slowly upward, knowing that it really doesn't matter anymore if something breaks. Two and a half hours now.

It's so unbearably sad.

4 comments:

  1. I am so sad for you all.

    all the best to you!!! Steven

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    1. Thanks, Steven. We'll see where we go from here.

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  2. What are they going to do with the facility? Will it be torn down or just mothballed?

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    1. We've now entered a phase of "D&D" (decommissioning and decontamination). However, D&D is a long and tedious process, which includes a lot of planning, but which could potentially end with the facility being completely dismantled. None of us want that, though. Perhaps DOE will allow us to find other sources of funding, change the focus or our research, or turn us into a national monument as they did the Graphite Reactor or ORELA. Nobody knows for sure at this point.

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