Nuclear Engineering Division


Nuclear Energy

Nuclear Reactors
Designed by Argonne

CP-1 Anniversary

Argonne's Nuclear Science and Technology Legacy

Met Lab & Argonne’s Early History

Historical News Releases

Join us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter NE on Flickr NE on YouTube



The Argonne Reactor TreeThe Argonne apple tree, a graphical depiction that displays the depth and scope of the Argonne reactor systems program. Check it out!

Reactors Designed by Argonne National Laboratory

The reactors listed here were all designed by Argonne National Laboratory, and nearly all were built at the laboratory's facilities in Illinois1,3 and Idaho2,3, with those built elsewhere noted3. The “firsts” among these reactors were many, but they include the first man-made self-sustaining neutron chain reaction, and the first generation of electricity from nuclear energy. The development of all commercial nuclear reactor types was based on both the design concepts of the Argonne reactors and on the information produced by these experiments.

From the late 1940s until 2004, Argonne-West in Idaho, and Argonne-East in Illinois, worked as a unified team under single management to design, build, and operate the reactors at both sites. Fourteen were built at ANL-E, fourteen were built at ANL-W, and other reactors designed by Argonne were built at Hanford and Savannah River. By 2004, all of the ANL-W reactors had been shut down. One – TREAT – has since been restarted by INL. After the merger of ANL-W and INEEL in February, 2005, the new Idaho National Laboratory became the custodian of the ANL-W reactor sites.

For details about the early history of nuclear reactors in the United States, consult the USAEC report listed at right.

Follow the links below to learn about specific Argonne reactors.

  • Book tells story of Integral Fast Reactor Book “Plentiful Energy: The Story of the Integral Fast Reactor” by C. E. Till and Y. Chang gives the history of the IFR at Argonne. Available on…
More about the book | More about the IFR »

Related Information

Last Modified: Thu, July 20, 2023 2:33 PM

Contact NSE Division