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65 years ago, Arco, Idaho becomes first town in the world to be powered by nuclear energy

Arco was named after Georg Van Arco, a German scientist who specialized in radio transmission. Before then, it was named Root Hog for reasons unknown.

ARCO, Idaho — Acro, a small town in eastern Idaho, made history on July 17, 1955, after it became the first in the world to be powered solely through nuclear energy when the Borax-III reactor turned on at what is now the site of the Idaho National Laboratory. 

When the reactor powered up, conventional power, created by the Utah Power and Light Company, was slowly replaced by nuclear power.

The test lasted about an hour until Arco's electricity was fed from the Utah Power and Light Company again.

Arco was named after Georg Van Arco, a German scientist who specialized in radio transmission. Before then, it was named Root Hog for reasons unknown.

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