Written by Guest Blogger: Brett Leigh Dicks
Sitting in the middle of Idaho’s high desert is large amorphous brick building. While there is no questioning the building’s lofty presence as it rises out of the flat surrounds of the central Idaho landscape, the structure’s formidable physical presence pales into insignificance compared to its historical significance.

On December 20 1951 the National Reactor Testing Station’s Experimental Breeder Reactor-I (EBR-I) became world’s first electricity-generating nuclear power plant.  On that day atomic energy was successfully harvested for the first time, producing enough electricity to illuminate four 200-watt light bulbs. The following day, EBR-1 produced enough power to light the entire building.
Whereas coal and oil fired power plants burned their fuel to heat water and generate steam to drive the electricity-generating turbines, EBR-I used the fission of uranium atoms to release energy. That heat was transferred from the reactor core through two stages of heated liquid metals, which heated water to generate steam to drive a turbine.
While uranium -235 was first used to generate heat, EBR-I subsequently became the world’s first breeder reactor to use plutonium fuel in the generation of electricity. EBR-I was deactivated in 1964 when it was replaced with a new reactor, Experimental Breeder Reactor II and in 1966 President Lyndon Johnson dedicated the facility as a National Historic Landmark.

Experimental Breeder Reactor-I is operated by the Idaho National Laboratory. For more information visit www.inl.gov/experimental-breeder-reactor-i/

Opposing Forces Exhibition Launch and Artist Talk | Thursday August 2, 7-9pm

Come meet the artist, Brett Leigh Dicks, and learn about his collection of photographs on display in the Diefenbunker’s Vault. You’ll also be the first to hear about his intriguing Cold War journey with his photographs from Santa Barbara, California to the Diefenbunker in Ottawa. Reserve your free tickets on Eventbrite.
Brett’s exhibition “Opposing Forces: Photographs of Abandoned Nuclear Missile Bases” will be on display at the Diefenbunker from August 2 – September 9, 2018.

2018 Blog

Twas’ the Night Before Grinchmas
Diefenbunker Introduces new Visitor Experience Manager
Livin’ the Guide Life
Artifact by Air
Snow Day? S’No Problem! Strengthen your spy skills with these at home crafts!
100 years ago, the guns fell silent.
Artifacts and Archives: Behind the Scenes
"The mountains opened, and two missiles appeared into the sky.”
There’s been an incident at the Bunker.
Thankful for Freedom: A Cold War Thanksgiving
Dash for Survival: Olympian Edition
Welcome to the Undead Army
Unconventional Spaces: Renting the Diefenbunker
Igor Gouzenko: The Anniversary of his Defection
75 feet under: Behind-the-Scenes in the Machine Room
EIGHT: Arrival
SEVEN: Renewed Topographics
SIX: The Stanley R. Mickelsen Safeguard Complex
FIVE: Ronald Reagan Minuteman Missile State Historic Site
FOUR: Mt. Rushmore and the greatness of hope
Who needs Vesper, when you have Moores?
TWO: Wendover Airfield – Home of the Enola Gay
ONE: Bye Bye Blackbirds – Cold War Relics in the Californian Desert
Prologue: Destination Ottawa (via Tucson and Calexico)
Spy Camp Week 1: The Art of Espionage
Diefenbunker Appoints a New Executive Director
Adventures from the Coldest Part of the Cold War- ONLY 2 DAYS AWAY!!
Marc Adornato’s Ruined Landscapes- Opening April 5, 2018 at the Bunker!
Mission Report- Easter at the Bunker
March 14 is Pi Day!
Introducing Agent ‘H’
Book Now