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  • Writer's pictureKatja

An Unexpected Atomic Journey

An unexpected twist to the current road trip was taking a tour through some of the local atomic history. From Arco, Idaho, to Steamboat Spring, Colorado, the theme of nuclear power carried through and produced some great on-the-road learning moments.


First up, a night in Arco, Idaho. This small town listed a population of 758 in the 2020 census and sits on the edge of Craters of the Moon National Monument. Driving through town to the KOA campsite for the evening, my eyes caught an intriguing roadside sign. Around the corner and across the street, I came across a small museum and outside display highlighting the contributions of nuclear power. How interesting! I thought as I walked around the displays and returned to my car to continue on my journey.


At a rest stop down the road, more signs caught my attention. I hadn’t realized how significant atomic power was to this region.

Seeing signs of a power plant down the road, I began to have more questions about the history and current use of nuclear power in the area. Little did I know that I would get plenty of answers and then some just a few miles ahead! The EBR-I, open for tours! If you’re ever in the area and want to learn more about the history of nuclear power in the United States, it is worth the stop!

Experimental Breeder Reactor I is a decommissioned research reactor and U.S. National Historic Landmark located in the desert about 18 miles southeast of Arco, Idaho. It was the world's first breeder reactor. Wikipedia

As I drove away from Arco and EBR-I, I assumed my atomic tour was done. However, a few days later, I had an unexpected opportunity to finish the story with a hike to a uranium mine outside of Steamboat Springs, Colorado. I went looking for a waterfall and found another piece of our nuclear history. Such a cool twist to this journey!



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