Historic Markers Across South Carolina

P Reactor

Marker ID: SCHM 2-36
Location: Road F, Savannah River Site (Not Open to the Public)
County: Aiken
Style: Free Standing **


One of five production reactors at Savannah River Plant, now Savannah River Site, P Reactor was the site of cutting-edge neutrino research. In 1956, Drs. Clyde Cowan, Jr., and Frederick Reines used P Reactor to confirm for the first time the existence of the free neutrino, a sub-atomic particle of extremely small mass. As a result, Reines won the 1995 Nobel Prize in Physics.

(Reverse) P Reactor not only generated prize-winning research but also produced plutonium and tritium for national defense. Built from 1951-1954, it was the second of five reactors here to go on line, running from initial start-up, Feb. 20, 1954, until final shutdown in 1988. During that period, it had the best safety record of any nuclear reactor at the Savannah River Plant.

Erected by the U.S. Department of Energy, 2008


Not Open to the Public
South Carolina Historic Markers - P REACTOR

Historical markers were placed in P and R Areas commemorating the role played by P- and R-Reactor towards winning the Cold War. The site’s first two nuclear production reactors, R-Reactor began operations in 1953, P-Reactor in 1954.