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You’re invited to tour historic nuclear reactor

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IDAHO FALLS – Fifty miles west of Idaho Falls in the Arco desert is the site of a once-active nuclear reactor. On Dec. 20, 1951, Experimental Reactor Breeder I became the first power plant to produce electricity using atomic energy.

“It’s no longer functioning as a reactor, but it’s a place where people can go and learn more about how electricity is generated from nuclear energy,” Sarah Neumann, an INL spokeswoman, tells EastIdahoNews.com.

Experimental Breeder Reactor I was the first reactor built in Idaho at the National Reactor Testing Station, the predecessor to Idaho National Laboratory.

Today, EBR-I operates as a museum during the summer months. It’s open seven days a week from Memorial Day to Labor Day weekends. Winter is the off-season for the museum, but the INL staff is inviting you to tour the site this Friday.

“We thought it would be a fun thing for people to do on Friday,” Neumann says. “It’s definitely a unique museum that’s different from other places you see in town. We encourage people to come check it out.”

EBR-I is the only place in America where you can see four nuclear reactors — including two aircraft nuclear propulsion prototypes — according to the museum’s website.

“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,” the website states.

The EBR-I museum will be open Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m for anyone who wants to come. Guided tours will start on the hour. Self-guided tours are also available. There is no cost to attend.

Courtesy INL

EBR-I is near U.S. Highway 20. There is no exact address, but signs are posted along the highway.

If you have questions or want more information, send an email to tours@inl.gov or call (208) 526-0050.

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