Model of Fuel Elements for the Obninsk APS-1 Reactor

Although a couple of nuclear reactors in the United States had previously generated token amounts of electricity,  the world's first nuclear power reactor was the APS-1 reactor in Obninsk which started operations in December 1954 (it shut down 48 years later)! The difference was that the APS-1 reactor was designed to produce electricity.

The photo to the right shows a model that was presented to Dr. Alvin Weinberg of the fuel elements used in the APS-1 reactor . 

The 5 MW reactor employed graphite as the moderator and light water as the coolant. The model shows four annular fuel elements surrounding a central tube. The latter might have been used to accommodate a control rod. Coolant would flow through the channel in each fuel element. 


The text on the label reads: "The technological channel of the world's first nuclear power station t(own of) Obninsk-USSR 27 June 1954 y(ear)."

I would like to thank Valerius Samoylenko for the translation.

Donated by Dr. Alvin Weinberg


Alvin Weinberg. Personal communication.

Jožef Stefan Institute, Jamova 39, SI-1001 Ljubljana, Slovenia. ICJT Training Center web site:

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Last updated: 05/10/11
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