b'C H A P T E R 8T H E R EA CT O R Z O O G O E S C R I T I C A Lshut down the plant if he thought it wasnot operating safely. Rickover Ce re n kov Radiationexplained himself clearly: the wholereactor game hangs on a much moren 1934, a Russian physicist named P.A. Cerenkov placed some radium in aslender thread than most people are I flask of water. He saw a bluish-white glow in the water.aware. There are a lot of things that can go wrong and it requires eternalvigilance. 21 Cerenkov learned that this glow was caused when the gamma rays hit electronsin the water. The energy of the gamma rays was so great that the electronsIn 1956 Congress proceeded with the moved through the water faster than light moves through water.construction in Idaho of the prototypereactor for the aircraft carrier USS This beautiful blue light was a common sight around the NRTS. Whenever anEnterprise. Thereafter, an entire irradiated fuel slug was removed from a reactor and placed into a water-fillednuclear-powered fleet slid down the storage canal, the diffuse blue glow surrounded the slug. Cobalt-60, which alsoshipyard ways into the sea. 22 emits gamma rays, also produces the light when it is stored in water. The mostbrilliant display of Cerenkov radiation appeared when a reactor operated with-in a tank of water. NRTS photographers prized certain photographs of this effectand used them frequently in pamphlets and public information brochures.Humorous road sign, erected by an Idaho businessowner on Highway 20 near the Site, entertainedtourists and Site workers alike.Argonne National Laboratory-West 91127 3'