The Elk River reactor, as it was generally known in the AEC parlance of the day, was a pioneering effort in America's nuclear energy history. Hailed widely as "Rural America's first atomic power plant," the intention was to provide a pilot installation of a small, simple, and inexpensive nuclear steam supply system that could be duplicated at many far flung locations. Unfortunately for the concept, the Elk River plant in the end proved unable to meet the task for technical reasons; yet, it remains firmly in history as one of the well known early nuclear energy installations. What follows is a brief history of the project and its major players.
Meet the SMR leaders shaping nuclear's future at ASME’s Conference for Advanced Reactor Deployment, March 26–28 in Charlotte, NC.