Source: Atomic Heritage Foundation | Newsletter |November 2018
Seventy-five years ago on November 4th, the X-10 Graphite Reactor at Oak Ridge, Tennessee went critical. The first nuclear reactor designed for continuous operation, X-10 was a pilot plant, meant in part to be a proof-of-concept for larger scale nuclear reactors. “This was the very first time in human history that mankind was handling radioactivity on this enormous scale,” recalled physicist Alvin Weinberg. “It was the first reactor in which sizeable amounts—meaning gram quantities—of plutonium were produced. It produced about one gram of plutonium per day.”
To learn more about the X-10 Graphite Reactor, watch AHF’s beta “Ranger in Your Pocket” program on Oak Ridge. AHF will soon produce a new program on “Oak Ridge Innovations” that will address the history of nuclear reactors and other scientific developments at Oak Ridge National Laboratory since World War II.