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Another Experiment was the world's first light water reactor.With its principles of neutron moderation and fuel cooling by ordinary water it is the direct ancestor of most modern nuclear power stations.
The site was chosen for the X-10 Graphite Reactor, used to show that plutonium can be extracted from enriched uranium.
Enrico Fermi and his colleagues developed the world's second self-sustaining nuclear reactor after Fermi's previous experiment Chicago Pile-1, the X-10 was the first designed for continuous operation.
The laboratory is home to several of the world's top supercomputers including the world's third most powerful supercomputer ranked by the TOP500, Titan, and is a leading neutron science and nuclear energy research facility that includes the Spallation Neutron Source and High Flux Isotope Reactor.
ORNL hosts the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences, the Bio Energy Science Center, There are five campuses on the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge reservation; the National Laboratory, the Y-12 National Security Complex, the East Tennessee Technology Park (formerly the Oak Ridge Gaseous Diffusion Plant), the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, and the developing Oak Ridge Science and Technology Park, although the four other facilities are unrelated to the National Laboratory.
In the 1970s the prospect of fusion power was strongly considered sparking research at ORNL.