June 27, 1954 – World’s First Nuclear Generator Begins Production in Obninsk, USSR

On this day in history, the first nuclear power plant to be connected to an external grid went operational in Obninsk. The city is located on the main rail line between Moscow and Kiev and at the intersection of Kiev and Warsaw highways.

Obninsk APS-1 was the first nuclear power plant in the world.

Obninsk APS-1 was the first nuclear power plant in the world.

The plant generated five megawatts, enough power to support two thousand homes, and established Obninsk as a center for Russian research in nuclear physics similar to Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 6.00.39 AM

The original plant in Obninsk had a single water-cooled uranium-graphite channel-type reaction. It operated for forty-eight years, until it was decommissioned in 2002.

In 2000, Obninsk was awarded the status of the First Science City of Russia. Today, the city is still home to twelve scientific research institutes, and has a bandy club called Atom. (Bandy is a team winter sport played on ice, in which skaters use sticks to direct a ball into the opposing team’s goal.)

Bandy in Action

Bandy in Action

Obninsk claims Oak Ridge, Tennessee, as a sister city. Oak Ridge was a production site for the Manhattan Project — the massive American, British, and Canadian operation that developed the atomic bomb. It is still the site of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which focuses on research in the fields of neutron science, energy, high-performance computing, systems biology and national security.

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