by Will Davis; second in a series.
Control Room, Naval Research Reactor, circa 1958.
In the previous installment, we observed that some of the earliest pool reactors incorporated their instrumentation right on the moving bridge which supported the reactor core.  As reactors increased in size and power and as exposure was considered, control was moved off the bridge onto the floor and then often into a control room (as seen above) in later designs.  These control rooms could either be at operating floor height with direct view of the reactor, or separate in another area of the facility.
Before the close of the 1950’s off-the-shelf items to assist in the rapid design and construction of pool and other small reactors had become available including fuel elements and, very importantly, instrumentation and control equipment.
Leeds & Northrup offered complete reactor instrumentation for small reactors and supplied it to a variety of locations. The installation seen here was built for the Sao Paulo, Brazil reactor. This was a 5 MWt pool type designed and built by Babcock & Wilcox.
An advantage of Leeds & Northrup reactor instrumentation as offered by the end of 1959 was instrumentation in modules, greatly easing troubleshooting and replacement. Illustrations from Leeds & Northrup sales material.
As requirements for smaller reactors moved up from simple training requirements to include research and testing, the size and power of the required reactors grew – and with it, the size of the facilities.  Eventually some very large facilities for the “simple” swimming pool reactor were designed and built.
This artist’s concept was produced in the late 1950’s by Vitro Engineering. This company did not construct reactor cores or instrumentation but rather offered complete engineering of the required facilities. According to the Vitro brochure from which this illustration was obtained, the company offered: •Planning of research reactor installations •Site

View Entire Article on