Arco, ID


The pictured Ford/? pumper was delivered in April, 1949 for plant protection and city use.

The world's first peacetime use of nuclear power occurred when the US Government switched on Experimental Breeder Reactor #1 (EBR1) near Arco, Idaho on December 20, 1951. The town of Arco first got its electricity from the reactor on July 17. 1955. It was only temporary, but the way was paved for commercial use of nuclear power later in the decade. The Arco reactor suffered a partial meltdown -- another World's First, in 1955. There's no highway sign bragging about that.

LIFE Magazine photos
by Frank Scherschel