Bringing History Home

A model of the Shippingport Atomic Power Station found a new home. The pieces of the model are so large, two of them will be stored in a separate storage facility until the museum can clear enough floor space to accommodate the full display.

February 15, 2019

A piece of American history, long forgotten, recently found a new, and likely final, home. On a bitterly cold January afternoon, five personnel from Beaver Valley worked effectively as a team to relocate a scale model of the original Shippingport Atomic Power Station (SAPS) built decades ago.

The crew loaded the pieces, one by one, into a rental truck and made their way to the Beaver County Industrial Museum, a house-turnedhome for rare historical artifacts that document the region’s rich industrial legacy. The collection now will include an original part of domestic nuclear energy production.

SAPS is considered to have been the world’s first full-scale atomic electric power plant devoted exclusively to peacetime uses. It was located on the site of the current Beaver Valley Power Station.

Built shortly after SAPS went online in 1958, the model was an attraction for site visitors. And due to its exact scale ratios and level of detail, it also was put to work as a training tool for site personnel. The model had been stowed away in various locations for years around the existing Beaver Valley site, eventually landing high on some shelving in the General Distribution Center.

Designed to break down into four separate pieces for ease of transport, the model will be reassembled and refurbished, including getting the tiny electric lights to work once again. Once cleaned, the museum will open to the public with a new display dedicated to the history of nuclear energy.

Additional details will follow in the coming months, including when the museum will open for visitors to enjoy the new display. In the meantime, if you have any history or interesting details to provide about the model or even working at SAPS, please send an email to

Inside the Beaver County Industrial Museum, George Christophe, Training, pulls off shrinkwrap that had covered the model for years.