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24.4.02

Hairnet To Handle Hairy Situations
"Nuclear engineers at Lucas Heights call it the hairnet, or the chip basket.

A massive steel net to be draped over the building housing Australia's next nuclear research reactor has been designed for an amazing task - catching aircraft flown by suicide terrorists.

When finished, the reactor's nuclear core will be underground, inside a 13-metre deep pool that will provide the coolant and act as a shield. The pool, in turn, will be buried inside two metres of concrete.

But from the outside, the striking feature will be the hairnet, a steel latticework 40 metres long and 30 metres wide hanging above the reactor building's concrete roof.

"It's to absorb the impact of aircraft crashes," Ken Horlock, former director of the nuclear technology division at Lucas Heights, said yesterday."

Only in Australia.

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