Category Archives: Nuclear Legacy

SL-1 Memorial Plaque

SL-1 Memorial Plaque at the EBR-1 Atomic Museum

New this year at the EBR-1 on U.S. 20/26 between Arco and Idaho Falls, ID, is a memorial plaque to honor the three men who died in January 1961 at the Stationary Low Power Reactor (SL-1).

Thanks to Joe Tokarz for sending us these pictures of the new memorial during his visit on May 15. In Joe’s words:

Thank you to the DOE & INL for their support in making the SL-1 Memorial a reality. Bring a chair. It is a perfect location for quiet contemplation of the sacrifices made by Byrnes, McKinley, and Legg and the lessons we learned. All gave some. Some gave all.

The EBR-1 Atomic Museum is open from Friday, May 27, through Labor Day, September 5, for the 2022 season. It’s open every day, and the museum is open from 9am-5pm for self-guided tours. The new memorial plaque is in the parking lot between the transport train and the aircraft engines.

For more information on the SL-1 accident, visit: SL-1 Accident Briefing Report 1961, SL-1 at Wikipedia, CE1 Richard Carlton Legg, SP5 John Arthur Byrnes III, and SP4 Richard Leroy McKinley.

The Atomic Age

On January 26, 1939, Niels Bohr publicly announced the splitting of the uranium atom. A plaque outside the entrance to Corcoran Hall at The George Washington University commemorates this.

The Fifth Washington Conference on Theoretical Physics, organized by George Gamow and Edward Teller, was held to discuss low-temperature physics and superconductivity.

However, the most famous event at the conference came from Niels Bohr with the public announcement that the nucleus of uranium had been split by bombardment with neutrons, with significant energy release. This was the dawn of the atomic age.

The announcement occurred in the Hall of Government, Room 209, which is located located across 21st Street from Corcoran Hall.

Another plaque was placed inside Room 209 of the Hall of Government commemorating the announcement along with a list of the physicists present.

Chicago Pile-1

December 2, 1942

Henry Moore’s sculpture, Nuclear Energy, at the site of the first controlled nuclear fission reaction on the University of Chicago campus.

On this day on December 2, 1942, Enrico Fermi and colleagues conducted the first controlled nuclear fission reaction at the University of Chicago (Chicago Pile-1). The site was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1965. This Henry Moore sculpture, Nuclear Energy, was placed at the site on the 25th anniversary in 1967.