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Manuscript Group 508
SHIPPINGPORT ATOMIC POWER STATION COLLECTION
1954-2009
1 box



In 1957 Shippingport, Pennsylvania became home to America's first commercial nuclear power plant under President Dwight D. Eisenhower's "Atoms for Peace" program. Just two decades later, under the administration of President Jimmy Carter the U.S. Department of Energy converted the Shippingport plant into a Light Water Breeder Reactor that successfully demonstrated the feasibility of using thorium and uranium-233 fuel to "breed" more fuel than it consumed in generating electricity. By 1989, after more than twenty-five years of operation, the Shippingport facility also became the first commercial nuclear power plant in the nation to be successfully decommissioned and the land released for unrestricted public use. The construction of the plant represented a successful collaboration between Navy Admiral Hyman C. Rickover who headed the Naval Reactors Branch of the Atomic Energy Commission, Duquesne Light Company of Pittsburgh, Westinghouse Electric Company of Pittsburgh, and the Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory of West Mifflin.

This collection includes a number of discrete items, some of which have long resided in various offices in the State Museum and the State Archives but were never previously accessioned. These early items have been supplemented by copies of publications used as sources to write an article for Pennsylvania Heritage Magazine on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the Shippingport plant. An important new accession of historic Shippingport photographs and related materials received from GAI Consultants, Inc. on behalf of First Energy Nuclear Operating Company and American Nuclear Insurers on April 14, 2009 provides valuable additional information about the history and evolution of Shippingport for the period from 1954 to 1975. Other materials relating to Shippingport will be found among the Leonard Bachman Papers (Manuscript 501) and in the papers of the various governors who served from 1954 to 1989.



PA State Archives Hours, Directions, & Fees Research Topics Finding Aids for Collections Land Records