"Heck yeah!" I said.
There was just one catch, my friend told me: it was going to be an unusual filming environment.
Namely, we would be working inside...
Couldn't talk about this kind of subject without giving this guy at least a passing mention either, eh?
Now, I can't say which nuclear plant we were at: "Wally" (not his real name), the plant's liaison to our filming crew, asked me not to publish the name of this facility. I don't want to say where it was either, 'cuz there's not that many nuclear power plants in any given area, right? Nor does the nature of our filming lend itself toward talking much about that. But I can show some photos I took inside the place, along with some information that wouldn't necessarily identify it.
In lieu of being able to show any photos of the plant's exterior, I'll use this:
We filmed for a few days and on the last one I whipped out my camera and took these pictures...
Ignore the "Bartlett Nuclear/Bruce Long" on the helmet, 'cuz that wasn't the plant we were at. I've no idea where Bartlett Nuclear might be. And my name ain't Bruce since last time I checked :-)
Okay, something that needs to be said before going any further: we were not, at any time, exposed to high doses of radiation. We were told by "Wally" that nobody goes anywhere near the actual nuclear reactors unless there's a DARNED good reason for doing so. Normally that would be something like loading new fuel rods into the reactor. Otherwise, it's keep way, WAY away from it (especially if you're a newly pregnant woman). Forget what you've seen on The Simpsons: the Springfield Nuclear Plant would have been shut down in a heartbeat if it existed in real life. There are literally safety protocols on top of safety protocols at the plant we were working in: every system has a backup, and there's redundant backups for those backups. Not to mention that this was an incredibly dedicated staff on site: for every hour they spent working there, they spent just as much if not more in training and study, mostly regarding safety. Even if you're fresh out of the U.S. Navy from working with reactors onboard submarines, you're looking at two years of training before you're turned loose on civilian equipment. Anyone think Homer could do something like that? :-) Anyhoo, if there ever was any worries about something... bad... going down at a nuclear plant, what we saw at this facility would easily allay those fears, so don't fret about a Chernobyl happening here.
So where were these photos taken? Inside what is called the Flow Loop simulator. Training directly around the actual reactor isn't the hottest of ideas but something is still needed for hands-on experience. The Flow Loop simulator replicates just about every kind of environment that could be expected in and around the reactors and generators. That's where we were at during part of our filming. We got to see for ourselves: there was only normal background radiation where we were set up at, nothing abnormally high or even slightly high at all. Still, I couldn't resist having some fun in the place while we were there 'cuz hey, it's not every day you get to be turned loose inside a nuclear power plant!
'Course, since the thought of a guy like me running around in a place like that is too frightening to contemplate, I had to take a picture guaranteed to scare most sane people...