Few Americans know their nation’s nuclear history. In 1946, after the bombing of Hiroshima showed that the atom could destroy a city, Congress created the Atomic Energy Commission to show it could also generate electricity. Reactors sprang from the sage of the Lost River desert, a spot chosen because it was sparsely populated, geologically stable and arid, but with good access to water and electricity. The site was called the National Reactor Testing Station. On December 20, 1951, the Experimental Breeder Reactor 1 powered four lightbulbs, the world’s first nuclear energy. Four years later, Arco became the world’s first town powered by nuclear energy. Businesses, thinking radiation would remove impurities from or enhance the strength of their products, blasted their goods — gold, diamonds, plastic, papayas, potatoes — with gamma rays… More at Longreads.
Highly informative article.