Today is Atomic Power Day!

December 2, 2011, 8:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe

On December 2 in 1942, Enrico Fermi, Leo Szilard, and their colleagues achieved the first man-made, sustained, controlled nuclear chain reaction-in a squash court beneath the football grandstand of the University of Chicago's Stagg Field. That event occurred 69 years ago today!

Fermi was a driving force behind the establishment of the American Nuclear Society, which was brought into being on December 11, 1954.

The first electricity ever generated by atomic power was produced by the Experimental Breeder Reactor in 1951, a project under the direction of Walter Zinn and his staff of scientists at Argonne National Laboratory.  Zinn was later elected the first president of the American Nuclear Society.

And, on December 2, 1957, the first full-scale commercial nuclear power plant in the world went to full power in Shippingport, Pa., on the 15th anniversary of the first man-made sustained nuclear chain reaction.


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