Experimental Breeder Reactor-I (EBR-I) Timeline

Naval Ordinance Plant established at Pocatello, Idaho. This facility repaired, manufactured, and tested guns for battleships.
February 18: The National Reactor Testing Station is to be placed on the site of the Naval Ordinance Plant.
August: The U.S.S.R. detonates an atomic bomb.
Construction begins on EBR-I.
Korean War begins.
Especially cold winter at the end of the year halts construction on EBR-I.
April: Construction on EBR-I building completed and the breeder reactor designed and built at Chicago’s Argonne National Laboratory is installed.
May: The first attempt to utilize EBR-I is unsuccessful, due to insufficient fuel in the reactor core.
August 24: EBR-I becomes the first reactor to go critical at the NRTS, the first to use U-235 fuel, and the first to use a liquid-metal coolant.
December 20: EBR-I first produces electricity. Four 200-watt light bulbs are lit by a nuclear reaction.
December 21: EBR-I output raised to 100 kilowatts to produce all the power needed to run the building it is housed in.
Technicians at EBR-I take samples from around the reactor’s core. Analysis at a laboratory in Chicago reveals that fissionable plutonium has been produced from non-fissionable uranium thereby breeding fuel in the process of burning fuel.
EBR-I’s core melts down, the first unintended nuclear meltdown in America’s history.
July 1963: EBR-I uses plutonium instead of uranium to start a fission chain reaction. It is the first reactor to accomplish this.
December: EBR-I ends electricity production.
EBR-I is decommissioned, and replaced by EBR-II, which operates from 1964-1994.
August 26: EBR-I is designated a Registered National Historic Landmark.