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44 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I SEPTEMBER 2018 argued for additional fuel tubes even though many scientists seriously objected. The engi- neers based their request on years of experi- ence building industrial plants. In the end, they won the argument and were able to build the reactor the way they wanted. Although it was a significant increase in cost, the engineers completed the reactor with a total of 2,004 fuel tubes. Early in the morning on September 27, 1944, the first nuclear reaction started in reactor B (Figure 1). Engineers decided to only use the original 1,500 fuel tubes in the first test and the reactor performed above expectations. However, after less than a day of operation, the reactor experienced a problem that caused it to lose power and shut itself down. This problem initially baffled the reactor operators, but they eventually discovered the issue was caused by xenon that had been produced as a by- product of the fission process. The operators determined that the solution was to increase the power of the reactor. After some recalcu- lations, the full array of 2,004 fuel tubes was loaded and the reactor was back to full power with the xenon problem eliminated by Decem- ber 26. If not for the persistence of the engineers wanting to build in a safety margin in the original reactor design, the reactor would have required a complete rebuild to operate. This would have affected the reactor's ability to produce fissionable material for the war effort by a considerable amount of time while it was upgraded. My dad used to say, "A job worth doing is worth doing right." I cannot tell you how many times I heard this axiom growing up—too many to keep count—and I eventually started to hate hearing him say it. But in the end, he was right, and the story about the DuPont engineers over-building the Hanford reactor is a great example of it. They saved the day by going the extra mile. I'm sure there are many other stories of engi- neering feats that saved the day due to the per- sistence of those who made sure that the job was done right the first time. So how does this apply to us now? Contract Positions With the way the PCB design industry is changing, many folks are undergoing career changes. Some are changing jobs or fields, and others are looking for contract work rather than full-time employment. For newbies just entering the industry or experienced designers who have always worked for a corporation, the transition to contractor can be a real culture shock. The allure of working from home and setting your own hours can quickly be replaced by the realities of chasing jobs and wondering where your next payday will come from. However, there are some wonderful aspects of working as a contractor that can make it very worthwhile. You have more freedom to make your own choices about what you will be doing and where, and you are not as tied to a single company or specific way of doing things. Working as a contractor can be great, but the key to success is being prepared for the differences. Tips Here are some ideas to help anyone starting a contract position: • Show up ahead of schedule: I've heard from more than one manager who has a nega- tive impression of contractors because they don't seem to follow through on commitments Figure 2: Control room.

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