On December 20, 1951, at the Experimental Breeder Reactor EBR-1 in Arco, Idaho, USA, for the first time electricity was produced by Nuclear Energy powering four bulbs. ERB-1 was not designed to produce energy but to validate the Breeder Reactor Concept.
On June 1954, Obninsk Nuclear power plant was built in the “Science City” of Obninsk, Russia. It was the first grid-connected Nuclear Power Plant in the world means the first Nuclear power plant to produce commercial electricity. The Plant was also known as APS-I Obninsk. The reactor remained in operation from 1954 to 2002 but its production of electricity was ceased in 1959. Thereafter it functioned as Research and Isotope Production Plant only.
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Design of the First Nuclear Power Plant
The Obninsk Nuclear Power Plant had a total electricity capacity of 6MW and a net capacity of around 5MW and the thermal output 30MW. It was just a prototype design built by using graphite moderator and water coolant. The reactor used 5% enriched Uranium.
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History of the Obninsk Nuclear Power Plant
The construction of this project was started in January 1951 and completed on 6 May 1954 and its first grid connection was made on 27 June 1954. For the next four years, it was the only nuclear power plant in the Soviet Union. It remained active till 2002 and in its 48 years operation, it didn’t witness any personnel overdose or mortality, radioactive release to the environment exceeding the permissible limits. Beloyarsk Unit 1 was the next Nuclear Power Plant to be connected to their grid in 1964 with a capacity of 100MW.
According to Lev Kotchtkov, who was there at the time: “Although utilization of generated heat was going on, and production of Isotopes was even enhanced, the main task was to carry out experimental studies on 17 test loops installed installed in the reactor.” The technology perfected in the Obninsk pilot plant was later employed on a much larger scale in the RBMK reactors.