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Who said: “Nature does nothing in vain when less will serve; for Nature is pleased with simplicity and affects not the pomp of superfluous causes.”
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UNITED STATES ATOMIC ENERGY COMMISSION
P. O. BOX 59, Lemont, Illinois

INFORMATION FOR PRESS, RADIO AND TV
Telephone: Lemont 800 (Argonne) Ext. 558-559
August 11, 1955
FOR RELEASE: Friday, 9:00 a.m., D.D.T. August 12, 1955

Idaho Town Gets Atomic Power and Light
in Nuclear Power Demonstration

Electricity, produced from nuclear energy, has been used to light and power a town in the United States.

Photo of building with sign over door “Arco Idaho First City in the World to be Lit by Atomic Power Elevation 5320 feet”
The city of Arco, Idaho was the first in the world to receive all of its electricity from a nuclear power plant. (source)

Arco, Idaho, became the first community in the Nation to receive its entire supply of power from a nuclear source when, on July 17,1955, electricity produced in an experimental nuclear power plant operated by Argonne National Laboratory at the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission's National Reator Testing Station, twenty miles from Arco, was fed into transmission lines supplying the small town.

Clipping from The Arco Advertiser newspaper Fri 12 Aug 1955 headlined “Arco First City in United States Lighted By Atomic Power”
Headline of the newspaper The Arco Advertiser for Friday, 12 August 1955. (source)

When the reactor power was cut in, utility lines supplying conventional power to Arco from the Utah Power and Light Company, were disconnected. The entire community of 1,200 inhabitants then depended solely on nuclear power for more than an hour.

Photo of trailer-mounted mobile transformer connected to heavy electrical overhead cables. Man looks at meters on control panel
This temporary transformer was used to connect BORAX-III with the town of Arco, Idaho. (source)

Although the transmission of electricity from the nuclear power plant to Arco was, by prior arrangement, discontinued after the demonstration had been completed, the generation of electricity at the testing station site was continued.

A motion picture record of the demonstration was presented to the United Nations today at the International Conference on Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy, at Geneva, Switzerland. The United States delegation plans to make the film available during the Conference and to representatives of 72 nations in attendance.

Photo of the Borax-III reactor building with several associated buildings surrounded open ground
The BORAX-III reactor was the first reactor in the world to provide all of the electricity to an entire town. (source)

The experimental nuclear power plant, known as “BORAX,” short for “Boiling Reactor Experiment,” was the subject of a major technical paper presented to the Conference August 9 by Dr. Walter H. Zinn, Director of Argonne National Laboratory. The plant, which generates more than 2,000 kilowatts of electricity, was designed and constructed by the Laboratory. Harold V. Lichtenberger, who is a U. S. technical advisor at Geneva, is Director of the Laboratory's activities at the testing station.

The reactor for the nuclear power plant has been under development by the Laboratory since 1953. An experimental facility for conducting studies of a reactor of this type was constructed at the testing station site in the summer of 1953 and tests on safety and steady state operating characteristics were conducted. The tests were sufficiently encouraging so that additional studies were made in the summer of 1954.

Experience gained during the operation of this reactor warranted the addition of a turbo-generator so that the steam being produced could be converted into a more usable form of energy. This generation plant was placed into operation on June 28, 1955, and the production of electricity is continuing on a routine basis.

The reactor consists of a pressure vessel containing as assemblage of enriched uranium-bearing plates submerged in water, plus a number of neutron-absorbing control rods. The water circulates through the reactor core by natural convection. Steam, produced by the heat created by the fissioning of uranium atoms, is conducted to the 3,500 kilowatt turbo-generator, located in a nearby building.

The simplicity of construction, ease of operation, low cost, and high degree of safety suggest the possibility that this type of small power plant may be suitable for the use in remote areas or in conjuction with mining or manufacturing operations.

Archive images not part of original text of U.S. Atomic Energy Commmission (AEC) Press Release (12 Aug 1955). (source)


Nature bears long with those who wrong her. She is patient under abuse. But when abuse has gone too far, when the time of reckoning finally comes, she is equally slow to be appeased and to turn away her wrath. (1882) -- Nathaniel Egleston, who was writing then about deforestation, but speaks equally well about the danger of climate change today.
Carl Sagan Thumbnail Carl Sagan: In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) ...(more by Sagan)

Albert Einstein: I used to wonder how it comes about that the electron is negative. Negative-positive—these are perfectly symmetric in physics. There is no reason whatever to prefer one to the other. Then why is the electron negative? I thought about this for a long time and at last all I could think was “It won the fight!” ...(more by Einstein)

Richard Feynman: It is the facts that matter, not the proofs. Physics can progress without the proofs, but we can't go on without the facts ... if the facts are right, then the proofs are a matter of playing around with the algebra correctly. ...(more by Feynman)
Quotations by: • Albert Einstein • Isaac Newton • Lord Kelvin • Charles Darwin • Srinivasa Ramanujan • Carl Sagan • Florence Nightingale • Thomas Edison • Aristotle • Marie Curie • Benjamin Franklin • Winston Churchill • Galileo Galilei • Sigmund Freud • Robert Bunsen • Louis Pasteur • Theodore Roosevelt • Abraham Lincoln • Ronald Reagan • Leonardo DaVinci • Michio Kaku • Karl Popper • Johann Goethe • Robert Oppenheimer • Charles Kettering  ... (more people)

Quotations about: • Atomic  Bomb • Biology • Chemistry • Deforestation • Engineering • Anatomy • Astronomy • Bacteria • Biochemistry • Botany • Conservation • Dinosaur • Environment • Fractal • Genetics • Geology • History of Science • Invention • Jupiter • Knowledge • Love • Mathematics • Measurement • Medicine • Natural Resource • Organic Chemistry • Physics • Physician • Quantum Theory • Research • Science and Art • Teacher • Technology • Universe • Volcano • Virus • Wind Power • Women Scientists • X-Rays • Youth • Zoology  ... (more topics)

- 100 -
Sophie Germain
Gertrude Elion
Ernest Rutherford
James Chadwick
Marcel Proust
William Harvey
Johann Goethe
John Keynes
Carl Gauss
Paul Feyerabend
- 90 -
Antoine Lavoisier
Lise Meitner
Charles Babbage
Ibn Khaldun
Euclid
Ralph Emerson
Robert Bunsen
Frederick Banting
Andre Ampere
Winston Churchill
- 80 -
John Locke
Bronislaw Malinowski
Bible
Thomas Huxley
Alessandro Volta
Erwin Schrodinger
Wilhelm Roentgen
Louis Pasteur
Bertrand Russell
Jean Lamarck
- 70 -
Samuel Morse
John Wheeler
Nicolaus Copernicus
Robert Fulton
Pierre Laplace
Humphry Davy
Thomas Edison
Lord Kelvin
Theodore Roosevelt
Carolus Linnaeus
- 60 -
Francis Galton
Linus Pauling
Immanuel Kant
Martin Fischer
Robert Boyle
Karl Popper
Paul Dirac
Avicenna
James Watson
William Shakespeare
- 50 -
Stephen Hawking
Niels Bohr
Nikola Tesla
Rachel Carson
Max Planck
Henry Adams
Richard Dawkins
Werner Heisenberg
Alfred Wegener
John Dalton
- 40 -
Pierre Fermat
Edward Wilson
Johannes Kepler
Gustave Eiffel
Giordano Bruno
JJ Thomson
Thomas Kuhn
Leonardo DaVinci
Archimedes
David Hume
- 30 -
Andreas Vesalius
Rudolf Virchow
Richard Feynman
James Hutton
Alexander Fleming
Emile Durkheim
Benjamin Franklin
Robert Oppenheimer
Robert Hooke
Charles Kettering
- 20 -
Carl Sagan
James Maxwell
Marie Curie
Rene Descartes
Francis Crick
Hippocrates
Michael Faraday
Srinivasa Ramanujan
Francis Bacon
Galileo Galilei
- 10 -
Aristotle
John Watson
Rosalind Franklin
Michio Kaku
Isaac Asimov
Charles Darwin
Sigmund Freud
Albert Einstein
Florence Nightingale
Isaac Newton


by Ian Ellis
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