Last night was my first time back in the Control Room in two months. That’s not quite true. I had passed through there many times. And I had subbed for people once or twice for a half hour or so. But last night was the first time of really being back. I was a little concerned that I would have forgotten everything. I need not have worried. Most machines are not up yet.
I did several Search and Secures. That is where a team of operators go through an enclosure before restoring beam and sweep the area to make sure that:
- no personnel are in the area
- the safety system is working correctly
- no strange or unsafe conditions exist.
The ops must search the enclosure, looking under and behind magnets, inside elevators, beneath staircases … anywhere a person could reasonably fit, to make sure that no one is left behind. It would be very serious to miss a person and allow them to stay inside. They would be exposed to a lethal dose of radiation and would most likely die within a month. It has never happened here, and I would not like to be the first to screw up.
To be fair, it would be difficult for an person to be down there without our knowledge. We have a variety of safety measures in place to prevent that from happening. It is not impossible, of course. A smart and determined person can find their way around almost any security measure. But we assume that we are looking for someone who would want to be found.
Anyway, last night I secured the Pelletron, Main Injector section 12-B, and the Pbar rings. I also racked out the NUMI power supply, and fixed a problem with one of the ion pumps in the Linac. It felt good to be useful. All of this was with a new crew. I hope that I can do as well tonight.