Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Fun and Games in the Nuclear world

I was working (no, really!) last night at good ole Stump Water Nuclear Station. It seemed like forever, only one night though.

I was looking for a valve, one of those waaay in the back, in the corner, in the dark, under something, in a Hi Rad area. From that description perhaps you can detect my level of motivation. Or maybe not, all that doesn't bother me the way it should, but it was hot, and I was dressed out in coveralls, two pairs of gloves, two pairs of shoe covers. This is also one of those places where a hard hat, or a hard head, come in really handy. The other benefit of a hard hat, besides reducing divots above the eyes, is the plastic does a champion job of condensing moisture and dripping it into your eyes.

Can't live without that very well can we?

The valve in question, one of thousands, was small enough to be overlooked, and was high in the overhead of a very high room. I knew this cause I spent about twenty minuets hunting it. I finally spotted the thing across the piping, on the other side of a void. Off we go, playing pipe 'possum ( my pipe rat scamper has slowed over the years to a 'possum trot) through the vines so to speak. Remember I said it was in the overhead, and I was wearing a hard hat? Thank God for small mercies, vision wasn't good and I managed to overlook if not avoid about a hundred pipe supports. I must have sounded like a hound dog under a house trailer, going "bong, bong,bong,bong" bouncing off of everything in my path, and leaving a dust cloud trailing behind.

Not too impressive in the ducking department.

I was thinking about a shower in decon about then, that would be because of the dust falling on my face. For all you folks out there that believe the movies depict something vaguely reflecting life, that part of Silkwood where they scrub the chick because she's contaminated, ain't happenin'....ever! I have had nasal cavities swabbed with the longest "Q tip" on the planet, for cobalt, but any fat man who tries to get in the shower to scrub me is in for a bad day. I have this agreement with the tech's responsible, they can toss me the soap from the door, and thats it. If they bring a brush, well it just goes down hill from there, I promise.

Not to worry though nothing bad showed up, I found the valve, we continued the evolution, and finished up early enough to get out on time.

The point? Next time you are thinking about how bad your working conditions are, put on your over coat, hat, boots, dish gloves, go down to the mall and run around the parking lot on a hot day for about an hour or so. That will make you feel a little better about how it could be.

Or you could just have a cold beer and forget the whole thing. I'm going for the beer.

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