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Visit ‘the birthplace of nuclear power’ for free on Dec. 21


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EBR-I plaquard | Mike Price,

IDAHO FALLS — The first nuclear reactor in the world to produce a usable amount of electricity is open for tours Dec. 21, nearly 68 years to the day since it went online.

Fifty people will get a free bus ride to Experimental Breeder Reactor I on Dec. 21. The bus will leave Idaho Falls at 9 a.m. and return around 12:30 p.m. Those who wish to take advantage of the opportunity need to make reservations in advance by email or calling (208) 526-0050.

“By opening it up in December, we’re recognizing that Dec. 20, 1951, was the first generation of electricity from nuclear power. And this is just a chance for folks to go see it,” INL spokesman Don Miley said.

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Anyone who wants to drive their own vehicle to visit EBR-I on Dec. 21, is welcome to do so. Admission is free. It will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. EBR-I is always free to tour from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

EBR-I was operated from 1951 to late 1963 and was finally decommissioned in 1964. President Lyndon Johnson and Atomic Energy Commission chairman Glenn Seaborg dedicated the facility as a Registered National Historic Landmark in 1966.

“It is the birthplace of nuclear power. That’s 20 percent of the United State’s electricity and 50 percent of our carbon-free electricity. To me, it signifies such a tremendous opportunity for the nation and really for the world to make electricity with minimal impact to the environment,” Miley said.

It is also the 70th anniversary of Idaho National Laboratory. The lab has hosted multiple events throughout the year to celebrate.

“We made history at EBR-I in 1951,” INLspokeswoman Sarah Neumann said in a news release. “This event is one more chance for INL to share its history with the community.”