Imagine that: a nuclear reactor for less than $15M

hfir1963.jpg

When the High Flux Isotope Reactor was originally proposed in the late 1950s, the estimated cost was about $12 million. When it built in the early 1960s, the actual price tag turned out to be $14.7 million (that cost included the 100-megawatt reactor’s cooling tower). Fancy that. Decades later, the High Flux Isotope Reactor is still operating and — according to Oak Ridge National Laboratory — the reactor now has a replacement value exceeding $1 billion. The above photograph shows construction in 1963. (Department of Energy archives)

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About Frank Munger

Senior Writer Frank Munger covers the Dept. of Energy's Oak Ridge facilities and many related topics — nuclear weapons, nuclear waste and other things nuclear, environmental cleanup and science of all sorts. Atomic City Underground is, first and foremost, a news blog, but there's room for analysis, opinion and random thoughts that have no place else to go.