ATOMIC ENERGY: The Powerhouse

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Amid the rolling hills of Vallecitos, Calif., the domed buildings stood bizarre and unexpected, like monstrous silver derbies tossed away by a giant. Even more bizarre was the scene inside. Over two pools of dark green water hovered a pair of white-clad men, intently fishing into the depths with a long grappling pole. Directed by a loudspeaker, they dipped again and again, snaring silver-colored bars of uranium 235 from the bottom of one pool and guiding them gently into the other. As they did, a gauge of amber-colored numbers shot up...

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