Does an Idaho Town Really Run on Atomic Nuclear Energy?
Idaho's Fascinating Place in American Science
BOISE, Idaho. The Idaho National Laboratory holds a fascinating place in American science. Located in Idaho Falls, the 890-square-mile compound was constructed in 1949 to house the world's most robust collection of nuclear reactors. At its height, the compound was home to 52 nuclear reactors, but only three remain operational today.
According to data from the Atomic Heritage Foundation, the INL was originally known as the National Reactor Testing Station charged with four key tasks:
- Prove atomic energy could output & sustain substantial amounts of energy
- Produce a nuclear engine to propel U.S. Navy submarines
- Experiments that included elemental & safety testing
- Assigned to assess, recover, and dispose of nuclear waste byproducts
Idaho Nuclear Compound Makes History
Pretty major, right? Then, just six years later, the Idaho nuclear compound was the first of its kind to power an entire city thanks to output from its nuclear reactors.
Nearly seven decades ago on Jul. 17, 1955, it was the town of Arco, Idaho that was the first municipality to be exclusively powered by nuclear energy. The demonstration lasted no more than one hour, but "the atomic laboratory at Idaho Falls has played a crucial role developing atomic technology across the United States" since that time.
Because of the monumental triumph in Arco, today nuclear energy sources approximately 20% of the nation's electricity and 50% of its carbon-free electricity!
For more information & updates on the exciting nuclear developments happening at the Idaho National Laboratory and around the U.S., click here!