The Zoé Reactor

The Zoé Reactor, December 21, 1948, during the visit of President Vincent Auriol Today we’re highlighting a historical reactor: the Zoé, the very first French atomic reactor. (And no, I’m not just writing this because we happen to share a name. But maybe I am, a little bit.) The Zoé reactor, sometimes called EL-1 (Eau […]

Quotes from Glenn Seaborg’s autobiography

These are notable quotes from Glenn Seaborg’s 1993 autobiography “The Atomic Energy Commission Under Nixon“. Breeder Reactor Beginnings In the United States and several other countries, decisions were made quite early that a reactor employing fast neutrons, utilizing the uranium cycle, and cooled with liquid sodium, the so-called liquid metal fast breeder reactor (LMFBR), was […]

1965 MSRE editorial from Oak Ridge

Several days after the successful start of the Molten-Salt Reactor Experiment, the local paper, the “Oak Ridger”, published this editorial: THE OAK RIDGER FRIDAY, JUNE 4, 1965, page 4 Editorial: Significant Step To ‘Burning The Rocks’ Many important stews lead up to the “going critical” of a new reactor. For instance, in the case of […]

MSRE 50th anniversary

For many nuclear engineers, the moment a new reactor first achieves criticality is considered the “birth” of their creation, the moment it “comes alive”. Criticality is special, because it means that the reactor is generating new neutrons at precisely the rate at which they are consumed in fission. Unlike a rocket launch, or a ship […]

MSRE…that ORNL youngster…

We were visiting Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) yesterday and during a lunchtime discussion, the topic of the most recent reactor at ORNL came up. A little discussion ensued and we realized that, with its first criticality in June of 1965, the Molten-Salt Reactor Experiment (MSRE) was the second-youngest reactor (in terms of first criticality) […]