The Front Blog

Conversations from the Four Rivers Region

Datebook: December 20 – First Electricity-Generating Nuclear Power Plant ‘Lights Up’ 60 Years Ago

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Experimental Breeder Reactor I (EBR-I) is a decommissioned research reactor and U.S. National Historic Landmark located in the desert near Arco, Idaho. At 1:50 pm on December 20, 1951 it became the world’s first electricity-generating nuclear power plant when it produced sufficient electricity to illuminate four 200-watt light bulbs. It subsequently generated sufficient electricity to power its building, and continued to be used for experimental purposes until it was decommissioned in 1964. The design purpose of EBR-I was not to produce electricity but instead to validate nuclear physics theory which suggested that a breeder reactor should be possible. It paved the way for a nearby reactor to power the city of Arco, Idaho in 1955, the first time a city had been powered solely by nuclear power. EBR-I was also the world’s first breeder reactor and the first to use plutonium fuel to generate electricity.

It’s Tuesday, December 20

Next June West Kentucky Community and Technical College has a Study Abroad Program going to Peru. The trip, which is open to the public, explores the land of the Inca June 11 through 19 and costs $3300. Inquire about scholarships and payment plans at 270-534-3207.

Tonight at 7 Maiden Alley Cinema’s FILMBREW SERIES features a hi def presentation of Die Hard with Bruce Willis and Alan Rickman, rated R. The theatre’s at 112 Maiden Alley in downtown Paducah. See for details.

Owensboro’s River Park Center’s Winter Wonderland offers a large outdoor ice skating rink with thousands of twinkling lights, a 35 foot Christmas tree and concessions. It’s open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. with $5 admission, including skate rental. It’s closed Christmas Eve and Day, but open weekdays through January 1 with free admission Mondays. The Center’s at 101 Daviess Street.

Let us keep you Company for the Holidays. See our Christmas week schedule of special features at, including the Solstice program at 7 p.m. tomorrow.


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