My first job right out of college was with Du Pont. A brand new chemical engineer, I was hired to work at the sprawling Savannah River Site – a location that, among other things, produced weapons-grade plutonium, from naturally occurring uranium.
On my first day, I was introduced to the specific areas where I’d be working – including the aptly named Canyon building. This monstrosity was an engineering marvel: It was 850 feet long (almost three football fields), and a tour of it and its support buildings took the entire day.
Since it was my first day, I decided to dress the part of a “successful engineer,” wearing my best suit and brand-new shoes.
But it wasn’t the best decision – at least as far as my choice of footwear went.
As part of the facility’s radiation-safety program, I wore a “dosimeter” badge that measured my exposure to nuclear materials. There were also scanner/monitors at the exit from each processing area.
As I left my final tour stop, I set off the monitor alarm.
Or, rather, one of my shoes did.
The protective cover on my right shoe had ripped, and radioactive material had worked its way into the porous leather sole.
In industry terms, my shoe was now “hot.”
And no amount of scrubbing would clean it.
Watching my Ph.D chemist/guide toss my new shoe into the radioactive “waste” bin was an ignominious (and expensive) introduction to the nuclear-power industry. But it also ignited a fascination with nuclear technology that continued throughout my career as an engineer – and that followed me into my next career as a trader, hedge-fund officer and technical-trading specialist.
It’s a fascination that we’re going to profit from, since nuclear technology is the key element of our first trade here to “The 10-Minute Millionaire.”