Happy Birthday EBR I
Exactly 60 years ago today in Arco, Idaho, scientists and engineers successfully used nuclear energy to power four 200-watt light bulbs, laying the groundwork for decades of clean electricity and a strong U.S. nuclear energy industry.
At 1:23pm on December 20, 1951, Argonne National Laboratory director Walter Zinn scribbled into his log book, “Electricity flows from atomic energy. Rough estimate indicates 45 kw.” At that moment, scientists from Argonne and the National Reactor Testing Station watched four light bulbs glow, powered by the world’s first nuclear reactor to generate electricity.
Fifteen years later, in Arco, Idaho, President Johnson stood at this same site and designated the reactor a national historic landmark. He said, “We have moved far to tame for peaceful uses the mighty forces unloosed when the atom was split. And we have only just begun. What happened here merely raised the curtain on a very promising drama in our long journey for a better life.”
Department of Energy Video
Idaho National Laboratory video on EBR 1 (loads slowly)
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