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Argonne's Nuclear Energy Exhibit

Argonne's Nuclear Energy Exhibit
Exhibit visitors check out the Experimental Breeder Reactor-II (EBR-II) model.
Argonne's Nuclear Energy Exhibit
Al Sattelberger, Argonne Associate Laboratory Director, performs the ribbon cutting at the exhibit's grand reopening on December 2, 2008.
Enrico Fermi's experiment
Explaining how Enrico Fermi's experiment achieved the first man-made, self-sustaining neutron chain reaction in 1942. View larger image.
Explaining a nuclear reactor
Roger Blomquist (right) explains how a nuclear reactor works. View larger image.
explaining the breeder reactor's safety and nuclear waste advantages
Roger Blomquist (right) explains the experimental breeder reactor's safety and nuclear waste advantages. View larger image.

Argonne National Laboratory’s Nuclear Energy Exhibit tells the story of the lab’s pioneering role in the atomic age, and how those early building blocks are leading to new groundbreaking projects in nuclear energy.

According to Nuclear News, the renovated exhibit is “a fascinating trip that starts with the dawn of the nuclear age and travels through the history of Argonne’s unique role in the development of nuclear power.” View the entire article here.

From an original letter written by Enrico Fermi to graphite from the first nuclear reactor, the exhibit is full of interesting historical artifacts. But it’s not all about history. The exhibit also provides a look at the future of nuclear energy. 

Argonne remains deeply engaged in research that will ultimately enable a U.S. expansion of nuclear energy systems that are safe, secure, and cost effective. No other energy source can provide the combined benefits of nuclear energy: large amounts of reliable and low-cost electricity, long-term price stability, clean-air benefits, and environmental protection.

To celebrate Argonne’s efforts in this important research area, the lab held a grand reopening of its refurbished Nuclear Energy Exhibit on December 2, 2008, the 66th anniversary of the first sustained nuclear chain reaction. The exhibit, which originally opened in 1996, was updated in 2008 to include new displays and historical items. The exhibit is located in Argonne Building 208.

The exhibit is broken up into seven major areas:

  • Chicago Pile No. 1 and Early Chicago Piles
  • Early Research Artifacts
  • Light Water and Research Reactors
  • Pyroprocessing Technology
  • Fuel Conditioning Facility
  • Fast Breeder Reactors
  • Current Nuclear Research Activities

Visiting groups are welcome, but must first make arrangements to tour the exhibit.  For more information, call (630) 252-5562 or email


December 2012

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