Department of Energy

LEGO for STEM: Atomic Town Power

July 2, 2019

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Atomic Town Power LEGO idea
Idaho National Laboratory

LEGOs have been an essential toy in the lives of children all across the globe for decades. The simplicity and design of these building blocks will always appeal to kids, and sometimes even adults.

In Dr. Catherine Riddle’s case, they are a tool for teaching STEM students about nuclear power and energy. Riddle, a research scientist at Idaho National Laboratory, came up with a LEGO set design called Atomic Town Power to make a complicated topic like nuclear energy enjoyable to learn. 

The product would include LEGOS that depict specific parts of a nuclear power plant including a hot cell that can rotate to the inside of the reactor, a cooling canal for fuel removal, an electrical generator, and much more. The set also would include 13 STEM professionals including chemists, engineers, physicists, reactor control room operators, a receptionist, a fireman, technicians, and safety control staff.

“I wanted to create an educational tool that sparks interest in nuclear power and is kind of an intro into it, so I came up with Atomic Town Power,” Riddle said in an article by the Post Register.

Riddle has often taken the time out of her work on technological advances to mentor young scientists at INL and in the Idaho community. “It is my greatest hope to not only work towards establishing clean energy but also to educate the next generation in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) which is why both the STEM and clean energy flags fly proudly over Atomic Town Power. What better way for everyone to think clean energy than to build their very own EBR-1 nuclear reactor,” Riddle stated in her LEGO application.

For the design to be considered, Atomic Town Power needs 10,000 votes by late 2020. If you want to make this design a reality, go vote for the design!