A group of science students from Japan's Hitachi 1st Senior High School may get to live out the ultimate geek fantasy by using the JRR-3 research nuclear reactor in Tokaimura to perform a set of science experiments. No word if the students are pushing for a test ban treaty.
According to school principal Yukio Suzuki "I want to give our students this chance to do something beyond their usual experience, and broaden their education."
Only three lucky 3rd-year students at Hitachi, an SSH (Super Science High School) in Ibaraki prefecture will be given the chance to go all Fermi-like at the Tokaimura reactor. Their chance to push the beautiful, red shiny button could come as early as this May.
Assuming negotiations between the school and the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) to use the JRR-3 research reactor are successful, the students will be using neutron rays produced by the reactor to visualize the interior of certain materials - and NOT creating buxom redheads bearing a startling resemblance to Kelly LeBrock. That's the plan, at least.
One wonders if high school kids should really be allowed to fiddle around with nuclear reactors and such, but really... what's the worst that could happen?
Besides, it's not as if the skilled professionals at JAEA have an unblemished safety record to brag about.
A mere 10 years ago, what has been described as "the third most serious accident in the history of nuclear power" (you can probably guess the top two) occurred at the Tokaimura nuclear plant - three workers were exposed to high levels of radiation; two of them later died.
Principal Suzuki blows that off, however, stating that "the students have little memory of an accident that occurred 10 years ago, and are not opposed to nuclear power." Let's not remind them, shall we? (via Mainichi Daily News)