EBR-I Atomic Museum open July 17 for Atomic Days

July 14, 2021

By INL Media Relations

The Experimental Breeder Reactor (EBR-I) Atomic Museum will be open July 17 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. to celebrate Atomic Days in Arco, Idaho.

After the Atomic Days Parade, Idaho National Laboratory will transport a busload of people from Arco to EBR-I on a first-come, first-served basis for a 1-hour tour and return them to Arco. Sign up to ride the bus at the INL booth Saturday morning. Private vehicles are also welcome at the museum. There is no fee for the bus ride or entrance to the museum.

A National Historic Landmark, EBR-I was the first nuclear reactor in the world to make useable amounts of electricity by lighting four lightbulbs on Dec. 20, 1951. The now-museum is typically open during the summer months. Due to COVID precautions, it was closed in 2020 and is reopening with limited hours in 2021.

Atomic Days celebrates the first time a city anywhere in the world was powered by nuclear energy. Following the proof of principle at EBR-1, Arco used nuclear energy from the BORAX-3 reactor to power its lights for more than an hour on July 17, 1955. BORAX-3, which stood for Boiling Water Reactor Experiment, was located about a half-mile from EBR-I at what was then called the National Reactor Testing Station.

The museum is located 18 miles east of Arco and about 50 miles west of Idaho Falls on U.S. Highway 20/26. To enhance your trip, download the TravelStorys app on your phone before you leave home and you can listen to a guided narration on your drive across the desert.

For more information about the museum and the latest information on hours of operation, visit inl.gov/ebr.


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Battelle Energy Alliance manages INL for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy. INL is the nation’s center for nuclear energy research and development, celebrating 75 years of scientific innovations in 2024. The laboratory performs research in each of DOE’s strategic goal areas: energy, national security, science and the environment. 

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Posted July 14, 2021

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