Vallecitos Nuclear Center

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Landscape of Vallecitos Nuclear Center set in golden fields with scattered trees
Vallecitos Nuclear Center viewed from Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park

The Vallecitos Nuclear Center is a nuclear research facility, and the site of a former GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy electricity-generating nuclear power plant in unincorporated Alameda County, California, United States.[1] The facility is approximately 30 miles (48 km) east of San Francisco, under jurisdiction of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Region IV.[2]

The Vallecitos boiling water reactor (VBWR) was the first privately owned and operated nuclear power plant to deliver significant quantities of electricity to a public utility grid. During the period October 1957 to December 1963, it delivered approximately 40,000 megawatt-hours of electricity. This reactor—a light-water moderated and cooled, enriched uranium reactor using stainless steel-clad, plate-type fuel—was a pilot plant and test bed for fuel, core components, controls, and personnel training for the Dresden Nuclear Power Plant, a Commonwealth Edison station built in Illinois five years later.

The plant was originally a collaborative effort of General Electric and Pacific Gas and Electric Company, with Bechtel Corporation serving as engineering contractor. Samuel Untermyer II, the General Electric engineer responsible for the initial design of the VBWR, had performed much of the conceptual research at Argonne National Laboratory while conducting heat transfer and nuclear physics experiments, including the BORAX experiments. Vallecitos Power Plant held the US Atomic Energy Commission's "Power Reactor License No. 1".[3] The main power generating facilities closed in 1963.[4] The discovery of an active fault running beneath the facility led to the closure of its most productive reactors in 1977.[5]

The Vallecitos site includes the Radioactive Materials Laboratory where post-irradiation examinations are carried out. A small 100-kilowatt research reactor is still in operation at the site. Vallecitos also fabricates radioactive source materials used in medicine and industry, under a license issued by the State of California.[6]


  1. ^ "Vallecitos Nuclear Center". GE Energy. Archived from the original on December 18, 2010. Retrieved March 17, 2011.
  2. ^ Alameda County Maps
  3. ^ "Paid Notice: Deaths Untermyer, Samuel II". The New York Times. 2001-01-31. Retrieved 2015-01-26.
  4. ^ Vallecitos Boiling Water Reactor (VBWR)
  5. ^ "E. Bay plant quietly handles nuke waste". Retrieved 2017-02-21.
  6. ^ NRC to meet with public in California to discuss GE Vallecitos Nuclear Center Archived November 7, 2004, at the Wayback Machine

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Coordinates: 37°36′47.76″N 121°50′24.59″W / 37.6132667°N 121.8401639°W / 37.6132667; -121.8401639