SL-1 nuclear reactor, 1958

SL-1 nuclear reactor, 1958

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Credit: LIBRARY OF CONGRESS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption: SL-1 (Stationary Low-Power Reactor Number 1) nuclear reactor. Interior view of the SL-1 reactor building with reactor head in place in centre foreground, at Idaho National Engineering Laboratory, USA, photographed March 21, 1958. The SL-1 was a United States Army experimental nuclear reactor intended to provide electrical power and heat for military facilities. On January 3, 1961, it underwent a steam explosion and meltdown killing three people. The accident was caused by the improper withdrawal of the central control rod, responsible for absorbing neutrons in the reactor core. The reactor building and contaminated materials were disposed of by burial.

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