After World War II and with the availability of enriched uranium, new reactor concepts became feasible. In 1946, Eugene Wigner and Alvin Weinberg proposed and developed the concept of a reactor using enriched uranium as a fuel, and light water as a moderator and coolant. This concept was proposed for a reactor whose purpose was to test the behavior of materials under neutron flux. This reactor, the Material Testing Reactor (MTR), was built in Idaho at INL and reached criticality on March 31, 1952. For the design of this reactor, experiments were necessary, so a mock-up of the MTR was built at ORNL, to assess the hydraulic performances of the primary circuit and then to test its neutronic characteristics. This MTR mock-up, later called the Low Intensity Test Reactor (LITR), reached criticality on February 4, 1950 and was the world's first light-water reactor.
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