Rincon, Puerto Rico  2006

BONUS Nuclear Reactor

A street sign for Vista Nuclear

Calle Vista Nuclear

This leaning street sign advertises the street's most famous and at one time most controversial scenic view, the BONUS nuclear reactor which sits at the bottom of the hill a few hundred yards from the ocean.

Vista Nuclear is a residential street, with private homes and several inns and other lodging, including the Vista Resort where we stayed.

Aside from its bent post, is there anything else that strikes you as odd about this sign? 

How often do you see sarcasm used in naming streets?


The "Dome"

The long-closed BONUS (Boiling Nuclear Superheated nuclear reactor), known locally as the Dome, came on-line in 1964.

The Dome reactor was built as a small-scale, prototype demonstration project to test the feasibility of BONUS technology, 

Tests turned up numerous costly problems, and operations halted in 1968. The Puerto Rico Water Resources Authority decommissioned the reactor between 1969 and 1970.  

Only two BONUS-type reactors were ever built in the USA.

I took this picture at sundown from our balcony. On the far side of the dome is popular Dome Beach. The tree is a flamboyant (Delonix Regia).
Map showing the BONUS aka Dome reactor, lighthouse, rincon and Centro Puntas

The Dome's Location

The scale of the map can be a bit deceiving, at least at first. Just about everything is within walking distance (for me at least).

The gray lines are narrow, pave, two-lane and sometimes one-lane streets.

The former reactor (red dot) is really only about two city blocks distance from Centro Puntas, and one block from our condo.

Even though the "Dome" had been inactive for nearly a half century, there was still a tiny twinge of uneasiness about living and sleeping within a few hundred yards of a nuclear reactor.

Museo Technologica

In 2001, plans were announced to convert the inactive nuclear reactor into a technical museum.

Since then, there have been several reports on the Internet that the new museum was open. However, the gate to the "Museo Technologica" (Technical Museum) was locked when I was there, and the museum showed no sign of being in business. 

As of June 2010, a U.S. Department of Energy Fact Sheet is still saying the government "intends to open the main floor of the BONUS building as a museum, in which numerous displays will recount the history of the site as well as the development of electric power and nuclear energy." No timeline is given.

Elizabeth standing at the closed gate to the closed nuclear reactor