Idaho National Laboratory
The Idaho National Laboratory
(INL), (formerly the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental
Laboratories) was established in 1949 as a place where the
U. S. Atomic Energy Commission could build, test, and operate
various types of nuclear reactors, allied plants and related
equipment. INL has been one of the nation's centers for developing
uses for atomic energy. The INL site includes the world's largest
and most varied collection of reactors, research, testing,
power, and propulsion. Prototypes of the reactors are now used
on many nuclear submarines and ships.
Centered on the former Naval Proving Ground, that served the Navy's Pocatello, Idaho Ordinance Depot, INL covers nearly 572,000 acres of sagebrush land on the Snake River Plains in southeastern Idaho. Its 894 square mile size (3/4 the size of Rhode Island) allowed scientists to carry out nuclear experiments that would not have been possible in a populous area. INL is located above the Snake River Aquifer. More than 120,000 people live within 50 miles of INL.