Historic Markers Across South Carolina

R Reactor

Marker ID: SCHM 2-37
Location: near the intersection of Roads E & G, Savannah River Site (Not Open to the Public)
County: Aiken
Style: Free Standing **


One of five production reactors at the Savannah River Plant, now Savannah River Site, R Reactor produced plutonium and tritium for national defense. Built 1951-53, it was the first of the five reactors to go on-line, with initial start-up on Dec. 28, 1953. The first irradiated fuel left the reactor in June 1954. The reactor continued operation until final shut-down in 1964.

(Reverse) This was the first production reactor to use heavy water as the neutron moderator and coolant. It was also the first to have vertical fuel and control rod assemblies, with more than 600 positions in the reactor tank. Originally rated at 378 MW, R Reactor achieved power levels many times that. It was the largest of the SRP reactors and was a prototype for the other four.

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


Not Open to the Public
South Carolina Historic Markers - R 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.