Monday, August 22, 2011

EBR-1 Atomic Museum

The first power plant in the world to produce useable electricity from atomic energy is located near Arco, Idaho.

Before I continue with photos of the plant...

This object was photographed next to the parking lot.  Can you figure out what it is?  The answer is at the end of this post.

Experimental Breeder Reactor - 1 first produced electricity on December 20, 1951 and was decommissioned in 1964.

The control room looks like a 50's science fiction movie with dials, toggle switches, and paper graphs.  No computers here.

Scientists were ready for all emergencies.

EBR-1 has a dark interior with different kinds of lighting.  Many of these photos were taken at ISO 3200, and white balance had to be changed for some rooms.

Where else can you stand on the core of a nuclear reactor?  Fuel rods used to be lowered into this hole which is now covered by plexiglass.

EBR-1 was fueled with U-235 and created plutonium.  It was a "breeder" reactor which produced more fuel than it consumed!

The first bulbs ever lit by atomic energy were right here!  This circuit is the original, but the bulbs have been replaced.

It was a HTRE-3 prototype atomic jet engine mounted on a test stand.  This monster engine actually worked in a test, but was never placed in the X-6 bomber designed for it.  No one ever figured out how to avoid frying the airplane crew while keeping the weight of the engine down, and the program was scrapped by President Kennedy.