/ The Seattle Traveler
Seattle — By Mary Jo Manzanares on August 2, 2010 at 5:19 pm
Filed under: family vacation, featuredarticle, road trip, science

Road Trip: Family Vacation to Idaho’s Experimental Breeder Reactor

There’s still time for a summer family road trip, and here’s an idea that combines a little education along with your vacation fun.  Pack up the kids and the car and head east to Arco, Idaho for a family vacation stop with an emphasis on science and history. 

Idaho Experimental Breeder Reactor The town of Arco is less than a square mile in size and has a population just over a thousand, but this off-the-beaten-path desert town left its mark on the world as the first city to be lit by nuclear power.  About 18 miles southeast of Arco is the Experimental Breeder Reactor, fondly referred to as EBR-1, a deactivated research reactor that in 1951 became the world’s first nuclear power plant to generate electricity.  The plant’s first efforts were a little on the wimpy side, producing only enough energy to turn on four 200-watt light bulbs.  They kept at it however, and eventually the output was sufficient to power the building and nearby Arco.

Despite a partial meltdown in 1955, the reactor was involved in important experiments during the 1950’s up until it was deactivated in 1964.  About a year later EBR-1 was declared a National Historic Landmark.

Guided and self guided tours are available, giving you a look at the historic and scientific importance of EBR-1.  The guided tour last approximately an hour to an hour and a half, depending on group size.  It makes a great starting point for discussions about nuclear energy, scientific experiments, electricity, and the socio-economic issues surrounding them.  Note that all tour participants must be US citizens.

Location:  18 miles southeast of Arco, Idaho (map)

Date & Time:  Open to the public daily between Memorial Day and Labor Day, 9 am – 5 pm. 

Admission:  FREE

For More Info:  EBR-1 Public Affairs Office (208) 526-0050

Photo credit:  US Government

Tags: family vacation, featuredarticle, road trip, science

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