What is ‘The Site’?
Employment in Idaho
If you have heard it once, you have heard it a hundred times. “I work out at the site” The Idaho National Laboratory (INL) or, ‘The Site’, as it is commonly referred to around East Idaho is nearly 900 square miles of Government owned land and complexes between east Arco and Idaho Falls. It lies within Butte, Bingham, Bonneville, and Jefferson counties. Why is the INL so important? It employs nearly 4,500 people. It is almost its own economy, and helps the surrounding areas tremendously.
Early days in Idaho
Just before 1950 it was established as the National Reactor Testing Station. In the beginning the INL was used for the management of spent nuclear fuel (how appealing for land owners) along with development of defense (& civilian) nuclear technologies. Over 50 reactors, all first of their kind were constructed in the Idaho desert. The first known nuclear propulsion plant was also built by the Navy. Out of all those original 50+ reactors, only 3 remain operating at the site today.
Just after opening, the Idaho National Laboratory achieved the first use of nuclear fission to produce a usable quantity of electricity, (those new reactors were put to good use)!
Sometime during the 70’s, the name of the National Reactor Testing Station changes to the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory. They wanted to emphasize a much larger scale of interests like renewable energy and materials research, and conservation. The INL had another name change in the summer of 1997 to the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory or I.N.E.E.L. The new refocus of the laboratory, was more permanent (so far) and had a tilt toward engineering applications and environmental solutions for the U.S.A. In 2006, the name changed one more time, to the Idaho National Laboratory or I.N.L. We like this one. Short, sweet, and we still call it ‘the site’ anyway.
A lot of Technical Professionals in one place…Idaho?
As you can imagine, the Idaho National Lab is home to a very large concentration of specifically skilled employees. It holds the greatest concentration of technical professionals in the Rocky Mountain area.Those looking for employment in Idaho should start at the site. There are some entry level positions, but this is mostly a career choice for a lot of highly qualified individuals. Interested in working at the site? Check out this page on the INL website.
If you are curious about the operation, you can refer to the INL website or ask around if you happen to be in Idaho. Chances are, you will run into someone who can give you first-hand knowledge of the work life compared to other business opportunities in the Southeast Idaho area. We have helped find housing for quite a few of these individuals, and can help keep your career in mind when looking for options.
The Idaho National Lab Today
Today, the INL continues to operate cleanly and efficiently. The citizens of Idaho are very happy to have the job producing employer available to them. The site has long terms plans and seems to be a very solid place to start employment with job security. The INL is one of only seven National Environmental Research Parks in the nation, and it’s located in our backyard!. The site is situated in a truly remarkable place. Even though it is somewhat desert-esque, the site has beautiful mountain ranges as a backdrop, and wildlife here flourish. There is few places to work where you may see deer, antelope, and traffic all in the same day. All lands within the INL are very heavily guarded and secure. You will see the signs and fencing as soon as you make it near the grounds. U.S. Department of Energy’s complex of national laboratories include the Idaho National Lab. The site works in many different areas of the DOE including security, science development, and nuclear energy.
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(all data current as of 1/30/2023)
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