OAK RIDGE NATIONAL LABORATORY / US DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY OAK RIDGE NATIONAL LABORATORY / US DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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X-10 Graphite Reactor, 1950s. Workers loading fuel into the concrete face of the X-10 Graphite Reactor at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, USA. This was the world's first reactor designed and built for continuous operation. The fuel was pure natural uranium. It was commissioned as part of the Manhattan Project, the US nuclear weapons development program during World War II, and went into operation in 1943. It became a research site from 1945, producing radioactive isotopes for scientific, medical, industrial and agricultural uses. After it was shut down in 1963, it was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1966.
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