Swimming on the hot side

Posted: 04/02/2012 in all marine news

David Goodwillie – 

I first heard about nuclear diving while I was getting my hair cut in downtown Manhattan. My stylist seemed out of place in an East Village salon, so I asked her where she lived. Brooklyn? Queens? Uptown?

“Upstate,” she answered. “I commute two hours each way a few times a week.”

I asked her why, and she stopped cutting.

“Well, my husband has kind of a weird job,” she said. “He’d rather not live around other people.”

I sat up in the chair. “What does he do?”

“He’s a nuclear diver.”

“A what?”

“A diver who works in radiated water at nuclear power plants.”

I turned around to look at her. “Near the reactors?”

“The reactors, fuel pools, pretty much anywhere he’s needed.”

“And is he . . . OK? I mean . . .”

“Is it safe? Well, he says it is. They monitor his dosage levels and all that. Sometimes they’re too high, and he’s not allowed to dive.

That’s why we live out in the middle of nowhere. Obviously, I’d rather he didn’t do it. Who wants a glowing husband?” She laughed, a bit sadly.

I told her I was a writer and asked if I could meet him. She said probably not. Most divers don’t like talking about their work, and their bosses discourage the ones who do. “I think it all comes down to the radiation,” she said.

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