C Elevator/Front Face

Both the front and rear faces of the pile were equipped with an elevator platform that spanned the width of the pile, and allowed workers to access any of the 46 rows of process tubes.

When it was time for a scheduled fuel reloading, the pile was first shut down in an orderly fashion (as opposed to the sudden shutdown of a scram). Normally, the horizontal control rods were slowly inserted into the pile to lower its reactivity over the span of an hour, and then bring it to a halt. This avoided drastic temperature changes within the pile. Once the pile was shut down, an hour or more would be required to allowed the neutron flux in the pile to fall to a negligible amount, and for the fuel slugs to lose some of their more intense radioactivity.

Workers put the boxes of fuel slugs, dummy slugs, and charging equipment on the elevator and raised it to the appropriate level for the tubes that were to be refueled. Each of the selected tubes was fitted with the charging equipment on the front face. At the same time, operators were making those tubes ready at the rear face.