What do you do with an abandoned nuclear reactor? If you’re a former NASA scientist, you simply repurpose it into a state of the art audio lab! It's the perfect place to visit if you want to hear your own heart beating or even test the sound absorbency of your cat.
Initially intended to usher in a nuclear energy boom, the Satsop Nuclear Reactor instead found itself the victim of one of the largest bond defaults in United States history. After 75% completion, work on the massive structure ground to a halt and any plans for the ambitious project were scrapped.
The incredible complex, built to withstand direct hits from airliners and earthquakes, became a favorite for urban explorers as it lay abandoned in the small town of Elma, Washington for nearly 3 decades.
Now, a former NASA scientist by the name of Ron Sauro has breathed new life into the structure by giving it a purpose that it’s original designers never could have intended.. as a world class acoustical laboratory.
As it turns out the massive structure suits the job perfectly.
“The bigger the room, the lower the sound frequency we can test,” he told The Olympian. “What we wanted was stability from all outside elements, including temperature, humidity and noise. This is a one-of-a-kind place.”
Sauro has retrofit the reactor with state of the art equipment used for measuring sound, and plans on using the new lab to test everything from jet engines, to underwater vehicles, to common household items. He even believes that with the right tweaks, he can use the building to create the quietest room in the entire world, saying that “you could hear your own heartbeat”.
Sauro hopes that within just a few years, he can have around 80% of the building in use.
“There’s a facility here with lots of potential, but it takes money.”
Let’s hope he remembers what caused the Satsop reactor its initial problems in the first place.