According to The Democrat and Chronicle, the rector was held underground containing 3.5 pounds of enriched uranium, the material that nuclear bombs are made of, the paper reported. Obtained in 1974, the reactor was reported to be the size of a refrigerator and kept in a cemented bunker in a restricted area below the basement of the facility in a 14-by-24-foot cavity.
Kodak reportedly used the nuclear reactor to check chemicals and materials for impurities and for neutron radiology, specifically for research of the subatomic particles with the ability to create an image.
While never a secret, Kodak kept word of the nuclear reactor under wraps and out of public knowledge since it never posed a threat to the community.
This device presented no radiation risk to the public or employees, company spokesman Christopher Veronda told The Democrat and Chronicle. Radiation from the operation was not detectable outside of the facility.
Veronda said the reactor was mentioned in research journals but never in public, nor was he sure if the police or fire departments in the area knew about it.
It was a known entity, but it was not well-publicized, Albert Filo, a former researcher for Kodak, told The Democrat and Chronicle.
News of the nuclear reactor comes just a few months after the imaging company filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy. The company filed for bankruptcy in January after losing sales from competitors over the years as photography switched from film to digital.
The uranium contained in the nuclear reactor was reportedly shipped in protective containers to a federal facility in South Carolina in November 2007.