Friday, May 15, 2009


I've been to Arco, Idaho. Or rather, I've been through Arco, Idaho. Many times. I used to drive through there all the time circuit riding to hold hearings with disgruntled taxpayers.

In any event, Arco isn't much to speak of, set in the sagebrush plains near the base of a range of mountains. Nuclear power as a source for electricity got its start near there when scientists or technicians lighted four 100-watt light globes from nuclear energy. The employees worked at the Idaho National Laboratory, or as I knew it, INL, one of those government-funded places where taxpayers are usually not welcome unless they work there or have business there.

That was way back in 1951, in December.

Brrr! It gets cold up there with the wind blowing through. I was just three years old then. I didn't even know they made scientists that far back, at least not ones that worked on nuclear energy intended for a good purpose and not for blowing things to smithereens

Anyway, those folks probably thought it was pretty nifty to use the power they had produced for something as smart as light. They probably dreamed big dreams after that, imagining all of the nice things they could use such energy for. They probably later felt like I do now, that their big dreams hadn't and likely wouldn't ever be realized.

But maybe they will be. Life is so short in the total scheme of things. If you throw enough effort and money at it, often it can and will happen. People's fears often drive out necessary innovation and determination.

Of course, it happened in Arco, or near there. So why should we be surprised?

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