60 years ago in Idaho

Sixty years ago on December 20, scientists and engineers in Arco, Idaho,
successfully used nuclear energy from the EBR-1 to power four 200-watt light bulbs, laying the groundwork for decades of clean electricity and a strong U.S. nuclear energy industry.

The first production of usable nuclear electricity occurred in December 20, 1951, at Idaho National Laboratory when four light bulbs were lit with electricity generated from the EBR-1 reactor.

The Department of Energy’s video (and blog post at its site) looks both at the history and the future of nuclear energy in the United States.

The following is excerpted from the DOE’s blog post:

At 1:23 p.m. 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.”

Please visit the DOE’s site here for the entire blog post and for a video on nuclear energy.

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