The Savannah River Plant (SRP) was built 1950-56 by Du Pont for the Atomic Energy Commission. SRP, a nuclear production plant, produced tritium and plutonium for national defense during the Cold War. Creating a 310-sq.-mi. site in three counties meant moving all residents from their homes in Ellenton, Dunbarton, Meyers Mill, Leigh, and other area communities.
The first reactor at SRP went online in 1953 and the free "neutrino," a subatomic particle, was first detected at P reactor in 1956. SRP also produced medical and research isotopes and energy sources for NASA. In 1972 it became the first National Environmental Research Park. Renamed Savannah River Site (SRS) in 1989, it is owned by the U.S. Department of Energy.