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the first ArgonautArgonaut

(ARGOnne Nuclear Assembly for University Training) a nuclear reactor used as a teaching aid

The Argonaut concept was developed by Argonne National Laboratory. The first Argonaut reactor (left) was built at Argonne for about $100,000 and went critical for the first time on February 9, 1957.

For the second International Conference on the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy, held in Geneva, Switzerland September 1-13, 1958, Argonne dismantled the Argonaut reactor, transported it to Geneva, and reassembled it during the first four days of the conference, giving conference attendees an opportunity to see how the reactor was put together. On the sixth day of the conference, Argonne staff brought the reactor to criticality. During the final days of the conference, the reactor was dismantled and then shipped back to Argonne, where it was reassembled.

The original Argonaut was used to teach reactor theory and nuclear physics to university students at Argonne until 1972, when it was shutdown, dismantled, and shipped to Taiwan to continue its mission of training students. Several other Argonaut-type reactors have since been built and used throughout the world as training reactors.

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This page was last updated on 04/16/2016.

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