Vallecitos Boiling Water Reactor

Vallecitos Boiling Water Reactor
1957

world's first privately owned and operated nuclear power plant to deliver significant quantities of electricity to a public utility grid

The Vallecitos boiling water reactor (VBWR) was the first privately owned and operated nuclear power plant to deliver significant quantities of electricity to a public utility grid. During the period October 1957 to December 1963, it delivered approximately 40,000 megawatt-hours of electricity. This reactor -- a light-water moderated and cooled, enriched uranium reactor using stainless steel-clad, plate-type fuel -- was a pilot plant and test bed for fuel, core components, controls, and personnel training for the Dresden project, a Commonwealth Edison plant built in Illinois five years later.

The plant was a collaborative effort of the General Electric Company and Pacific Gas and Electric Company with Bechtel serving as engineering contractor. Samuel Untermyer, the GE engineer responsible for the initial design of the VBWR, had performed much of the conceptual research at Argonne National Laboratory while conducting heat transfer and nuclear physics experiments, including the BORAX (boiling reactor experiment) tests.

More about Nuclear Energy in California: http://www.energy.ca.gov/nuclear/california.html

 
 

Landmark Location

Vallecitos Nuclear Center
Pleasanton, Ca.

Visiting Info:

by special arrangement

Ceremony Notes

October 1987

Comments from Visitors/Members

Exterior of containment including AEC and ASME plaques in full view. The VBWR is not open to the general public on a casual basis, but I am under the impression that small groups could be admitted to view the external aspects of the plant by arrangement with the Vallecitos site manager (Darmitzel). Casual entrance to the inside of the containment vessel was never permitted even during the active years and this policy remains to this day. The steam turbine and generator were removed shortly after the plant was shut down, but these were not very relevant to the landmark aspects of the plant. -- M. B. Reynolds.