The museum will not be open as usual this summer due to the coronavirus pandemic, but you can still plan a virtual visit to EBR-I in these ways:
- Sign up for an online guided tour with the museum staff
Send an email expressing your interest to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Download the TravelStorys app on your phone
Visit your app store and download the free app then either peruse the museum from the comfort of your home or, if you’re taking a road trip, download the app before you leave home and as you drive across U.S. 20, the app will give you a professional narration on the drive. It will also give you a virtual tour of EBR-I — even though you can’t go inside the building.
Experimental Breeder Reactor-I (EBR-I)
Have you ever seen a nuclear reactor? Ever wonder how electricity is generated from nuclear energy? Satisfy your curiosity by visiting the Experimental Breeder Reactor No. 1 (EBR-I) Atomic Museum, located on U.S. Highway 20/26 between Idaho Falls and Arco (see map).
The facility, a National Historic Landmark where usable electricity was first generated from nuclear energy in 1951.
It’s the only place in America you can see four nuclear reactors — including two aircraft nuclear propulsion prototypes, a reactor control room, remote handling devices for radioactive materials, radiation detection equipment, and much more.
The museum also includes colorful, interactive displays that tell the story of EBR-I’s sibling, Experimental Breeder Reactor No. 2 (EBR-II), the reactor that once powered much of the site, operated with a novel closed fuel cycle and demonstrated its inherent safety. You can walk through the museum using the self-guided tour instructions, or take a guided tour with one of the summer season tour guides.
EBR-I Fast Facts
- On December 20, 1951, EBR-I became the first power plant to produce electricity using atomic energy.
- EBR-I was the first reactor built in Idaho at the National Reactor Testing Station (forerunner to today’s INL)
- In 1953, testing at EBR-I confirmed that a reactor could create (or breed) more fuel than it consumes.
- This pioneering reactor operated for 12 years before being shut down for the last time in December 1963.
- President Lyndon Johnson dedicated EBR-I as a National Historic Landmark in 1966.