Experimental Breeder Reactor-I (EBR-I)

Have you ever seen a nuclear reactor? Ever wonder how electricity is generated from nuclear energy? Satisfy your curiosity by visiting the Experimental Breeder Reactor No. 1 (EBR-I) Atomic Museum, located on U.S. Highway 20/26 between Idaho Falls and Arco (see map).

The facility, a National Historic Landmark where usable electricity was first generated from nuclear energy in 1951, is open to the public:

  • Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend:
  • Seven days a week
  • 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Free admission

It’s the only place in America you can see four nuclear reactors — including two aircraft nuclear propulsion prototypes, a reactor control room, remote handling devices for radioactive materials, radiation detection equipment, and much more.

The museum also includes colorful, interactive displays that tell the story of EBR-I’s sibling, Experimental Breeder Reactor No. 2 (EBR-II), the reactor that once powered much of the site, operated with a novel closed fuel cycle and demonstrated its inherent safety. You can walk through the museum using the self-guided tour instructions, or take a guided tour with one of the summer season tour guides.

EBR-I Fast Facts

  • On December 20, 1951, EBR-I became the first power plant to produce electricity using atomic energy.
  • EBR-I was the first reactor built in Idaho at the National Reactor Testing Station (forerunner to today’s INL)
  • In 1953, testing at EBR-I confirmed that a reactor could create (or breed) more fuel than it consumes.
  • This pioneering reactor operated for 12 years before being shut down for the last time in December 1963.
  • President Lyndon Johnson dedicated EBR-I as a National Historic Landmark in 1966.