The Reactor Hall – KTH R1

This is the first post in the series – Places at KTH, I will share pictures and stories about some famous places of KTH. I welcome inputs and suggestions from all the readers.


Last week, for one of the weekly meetings of a project, we got to see the reactor hall – R1. Interestingly, it was the first nuclear reactor of Sweden. It was a research reactor located at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) campus at Valhallavägen, in the rock beneath the current-day Q buildings. The reactor was active from July 13, 1954 to June 6, 1970. The reactor was dismantled, and there is nothing left of it today; the reactor hall however still exists.

Nowadays, The KTH R1 Experimental Performance Space is both a research project and a physical place, with support from Akademiska Hus and EIT ICT Labs.


The project aim is to establish a permanent experimental performance space in the discontinued nuclear reactor hall at KTH. This underground environment located 25 meters beneath the university campus represents Swedens entry into the Nuclear Age and provides a unique setting for performance activities (500 sqr meters). Such events may explore and make use of the reactor hall itself or use media technology to create activities, installations and performances virtually accessible through several media channels.

The KTH R1 Experimental Performance Space is also meant to be a creative meeting space for KTH and its partners among other higher education institutions.

Some Interesting Facts:

  • It is located 25 metres below ground, so phones don’t work down there.
  • It is nearly as deep as the tunnelbana so one can hear the metros passing by once in a while.
  • The place is famous for hosting royal family as well as the well-known physicist Stephen Hawking.
  • There are presently no radiations at R1.
The dome in which the core of reactor used to be

The dome in which the core of reactor used to be

Now the area is transformed into a performance area

Now the area is transformed into a performance area


There is a grand piano in the darkness down there

The control room

The control room

Enjoy a 3D virtual tour of R1 here.

Photo Credits: Aditya Gahlaut and Deovrat Phal.