Idaho National Engineering Laboratory, Test Area North, Scoville, Butte County, ID
Significance: Test Area North (TAN) was a site of the Aircraft Nuclear Propulsion (ANP) Project of the U.S. Air Force and the Atomic Energy Commission. Its Cold War mission was to develop a turbojet bomber propelled by nuclear power. The project was part of an arms race. Test activities took place in five area at TAN. The Assembly and Maintenance area was a shop and hot cell complex. Nuclear tests ran at the Initial Engine Test cluster. The fourth area was for Administration. A Flight Engine Test facility (hangar) was built to house the anticipated nuclear-powered aircraft.
Experiments between 1955-1961 proved that a nuclear reactor could power a jet engine, but President John F. Kennedy canceled the project in March 1961. ANP facilities were adapted for new reactor projects, the most important of which were Loss of Fluid Tests (LOFT), part of an international safety program for commercial power reactors.
Other projects included NASA's Systems for Nuclear Auxiliary Power and storage of Three Mile Island meltdown debris. National missions for TAN in reactor research and safety research have expired; demolition of historic TAN buildings is underway.
Survey number: HAER ID-33-E
Building/structure dates: 1952-1970 Initial Construction