b'P ROVING THE P RINCIPLEIt is the question What did they do? that produces the thousand stories. TheINEEL was the scene of thousands of scientific experiments. I learned to correctmy notion of an experiment. The word brought up vague memories of highschool chemistry classpouring a liquid of one color into a glass filled with a liq-uid of another color. The result was a third color, and that was it. In nuclear mat-ters, however, an experiment may require acres of land, huge buildings, hundredsof people, and millions of dollars. It may take years to conceive, design, andbuild. After all that, the action phase of an experiment might take about the sametime it took to pour liquid A into liquid B.Large-scale laboratory work requires the well-orchestrated efforts of teams.Nevertheless, a historian, particularly when commissioned for a golden anniver-sary, looks for insight by talking to individuals. Who can interview a team thatexisted and dissolved forty-five years ago? Yet accomplishments are so often theproduct of teams, working groups, task forces, and committees, that it is hard toidentify the individual who might have flashed the first break-through light on aproblem. Team work is a fact of life in Big Science, perhaps most science. Peopledemonstrate creativity and imagination in ways not often recognized. This bookdoes not mention all the times that someone said of another, He was the mostbrilliant physicist Ive ever known, We had superb back-up from our radio-chemists, The weather service sent their best meteorologists to the NRTS,Our welders were the best in the business. I heard that sort of thing frequently.Therefore, I regret the many stories not recorded here, the many exceptional indi-viduals not acknowledged, the many discoveries and engineered systems not men-tioned, the many ingenious experiments not described. I hope that the all-too-fewnames and episodes that do appear in the book will be understood partly as stand-ins for the many others that could just as well have been includedand stand-ins,as well, for the teams that made it possible for individuals to have stories to tell.All historians of the Atomic Energy Commission or the Department of Energy(DOE) and its laboratories have had to cope with the multiple-arena aspect oftheir subjects: activity moves on several fronts at the same time. At the INEELthis is notably the case. Major programs were under different contractors and pro-gressed simultaneously, sometimes having little more in common than the desertscenery and the landlord. Rather than chart INEEL history using internal benchmarks such as the change in DOE secretaries or the five-year increments of oper-ating contracts, I tried to keep in mind the general reader and the non-scientist, formost of whom this book will be an introduction to the INEEL.As this manuscript neared completion, a criticality accident occurred inTokaimura, Japan, in a plant fabricating highly enriched nuclear fuel. Havinglearned some basic nuclear language, I saw how carelessly many journalistsreported this news. They used the word contaminated, for example, when theymeant irradiated. The Idaho Chemical Processing Plant (renamed Idaho Nuclearx'