In May 1947, Popular Science looked back on 75 years of scientific progress. Though fewer than two years had passed since the world witnessed the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, scientists foresaw a new era of clean, reliable energy from the same destructive source: nuclear power. In 1951, the Experimental Breeder Reactor I near Arco, Idaho, became the first nuclear plant to generate electricity, powering lights in the testing area. More recently, disasters at the Chernobyl and Fukushima plants triggered backlashes that stifled the expansion of nuclear power in Western countries. Nowadays, Western countries are decomissioning more reactors than they're building. China and Russia, by contrast, are investing heavily in nuclear power.