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The Atomic State | When Idaho Changed The World | (EBR-1) Atomic Power | Historical | Community | Heritage | Educational

The EBR-1 (Experimental Breeder Reactor 1).

Idaho changes the world - at the 'flip of a switch'.

The worlds first nuclear power plant.

Did you know that the worlds very first peacetime use of nuclear power came from right here in Idaho!

On a cold morning in December 20th, 1951, in the small town of Arco, Butte County, Idaho, a small group of scientists met up at what is now known as the INL (Idaho National Laboratory). This meeting was led by Walter Henry Zinn, a Canadian born American Physicist.

Together the group conducted an experiment that would change our world forever. This process would also demonstrate a peaceful representation of nuclear source capabilities, dismissing rumours of war by the Soviets.

What emerged was a globe changing U. S. Government announcement.

The EBR-1 was confirmed as the very first experimental breeder to successfully harness atomic power thereby creating electricity. Four years later the BORAX III breeder was also added. This iconic pioneering equipment confirmed the theory that a reactor was capable of breeding 'more fuel than it consumes'.

The scientists stated 'on the first day we lit four light bulbs, the next day we lit the entire building, then a whole town' and the rest is history.

Idaho is proud to be home to Americas largest nuclear plant which consists of fifty two nuclear reactors. This is the biggest number of reactors, in the worlds history, ever housed together in one place!

The EBR-1 was built right here, in Idaho and paved the way for many more scientific breakthroughs. In 1955 scientists met once again to discuss powering a whole town, Arco Idaho, using the newer Borax III reactor. Arco became the very first town be officially lit by electrical power. 

Operations continued to great success until 1963, after a productive twelve year period, the reactor ceased operation with President Lyndon Johnson announcing the site as a National Historic Landmark.

You can visit THE ATOMIC MUSEUM today and rediscover just how electricity was first generated. Located on U. S. Highway 20/26 between Arco and Idaho Falls and is the only place in the States showcasing four nuclear reactors and flight carrier prototypes. With fantastic educational interactive systems and guided tours available this is surely a heritage site not to be missed.

History in our hands! 



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