Sunday, August 4, 2019

Experimental Breeder Reactor 1

Still trying to catch up but continue to do fun and interesting things.
Trip from Jackpot to Arco. Purple circle is EBR 1 Red circle is Atomic City, Id. Both side trips out of Arco. 
After getting settled at the KOA in Arco, Idaho we drove down the road to the EBR 1 Reactor site. 
Why did we go there? Well, because many, many years ago when I was a little girl my father worked there as it was being built. He was a plumber/steam fitter and followed big jobs all over the U.S. This was one of many. But it is one I remember the most. 

This was a the first nuclear reactor to be used for peaceful use. This is a little fuzzy but readable. 
This was the first power plant in the world to produce usable electricity using atomic energy. From Dec 1951 to 1964 when it was decommissioned it generated enough electricity to supply all the power for its own building whenever the reactor operated. 
Inside the building. They have a 15 stop self guided tour. We picked up the pamphlet and started out. Luckily for you I didn't take pictures of every stop When entering the building this is what you see. 
Some of the posters explaining the process.

A couple of panos of the control room. Lots of dials, switches and knobs. From this room the operators started and stopped the chain reaction and controlled the equipment for making electricity. 

This is information about the reactor. 

Standing above and looking down into the reactor. This is a nuclear heat source or furnace. 
Steam created by the reactor's heat rotated this turbine. The turbine turned the generator to make electricity. 
The first electricity generated at EBR-1 illuminated four light bulbs like the ones seen here. They are strung just as the original bulbs were in 1951

Standing looking around I was wondering if my Dad's hands ever touched these pipes. 
At the time we lived in Pocatello, Idaho where many of the workers lived. They would be picked up by a company bus Monday morning and brought back on Friday. A bus just like this. 
An explanation of Atoms. One Friday when my dad got out of the bus he had a brown paper bag tightly sealed at the top, gently cradled in his hands. When my mom asked him what it was he told her to be quiet he would explain when they were in the car. In the car he told her that he'd managed to get some Atoms and smuggle them out. What was really in the bag - air of course. Air full of atoms.
Two of the original light bulbs.
Extra fuel rods were stored in the vault. Before they were used in the reactor, the rods were not very radioactive and could be handled safely without shielding. 
Another mad scientist on the lose. Or a person who got nuked.
More pipes.
On top of this is where I was looking down into the reactor. The thick concrete walls surrounding it shielded workers from radiation 
Back outside. 

After leaving there we continued on down the road to Atomic City - once called Midway but changed it's name in hopes of encouraging the workers from the reactor to live there. Now has a population of 29. More about Arco and Atomic City next time. 
Today we will be at a campground that prides itself on not having WiFi or cell phone service. Still in Wyoming, between Grand Teton and Yellowstone Parks. Monday we will be in campground in Montana just north of Yellowstone. So I'll have some catching up to do. 


SandyM said...

Are you anywhere close to Bear Tooth Mountain and Route 212 from Red Lodge, MT to the Northeastern entrance to Yellowstone Park? That is 50 miles of fascinating scenery and very, very close to 11,000 feet at the highest point. What a trip that is!

Enjoyed this blog with you as you renewed old memories - how nice that you got to do this.

Carol and Bill said...

We are in Gardiner, MT at the North Entrance.

Jackie McGuinness said...

Great memories!