Friday, September 03, 2010
It turns out that this small town of Arco, ID has international bragging rights as the first place in the world to be powered by nuclear energy. From that small beginning, the area around this town became the largest nuclear research area in the world with 50 power plants build for power and research. Today, there are huge complexes in the hinterland researching and producing nuclear energy.
It all started with the first test reactor EBR-1 located just east of Arco. This is a national historic site and can be toured by the public. This was an amazing look at the very early days of nuclear power for peaceful use.
On the way back into Arco, we spotted the sail fin of a submarine and had to find out why it was there. The guy cutting the grass stopped and asked if we would like to see the small museum in what looked like a storage shed. As we talked, I discovered that he enlisted in the U S Coast Guard in 1944 and saw service in the pacific during WWII. He then worked at the nuclear power facilities in the area around Arco for many years. We also learned that over 40,000 sailors were trained at these facilities for service on aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines. Hence the nuclear sub sail fin in this small town park. You never know what you will find, if you take the time to look. The tour of this tiny museum was also very interesting thanks to the narrative provided by our impromptu guide. It was an hour well spent.