Arkansas Nuclear One, Russellville, Arkansas
Arkansas Nuclear One, the only nuclear power plant in the state, is owned by Entergy Arkansas, Inc. and located in the town of Russellville. It stands near Lake Dardanelle, which is used to cool the heat produced by the electricity generation process. Construction of the plant began in 1969, and operations began in 1974.
Arkansas Nuclear One has two reactors, both of which used heated pressurized water to generate steam, which powers an electricity generator. Pressurized water reactors typically use enriched uranium dioxide to heat the water. One challenge faced by any nuclear power plant is disposing of used radioactive materials in a safe manner.
Nuclear Power’s Environmental Impact
Nuclear power has been a controversial topic in the US for decades. Many people are concerned about the production of radioactive waste and the possibility of disasters occurring at these plants. However, proponents of nuclear power argue that it is actually a comparatively clean energy source. For example, these plants do not release greenhouse gasses or other pollutants into the air; because the heat they need is provided by radioactive material, no fossil fuels need to be burned.
In addition, nuclear power is known to be an efficient means of energy production; nuclear plants can create a great deal of power from relatively few resources. This means that fewer resources need to be used by these plants. Researchers have also developed environmentally safe ways to manage these plants. Although water may be released back into the environment, this water never comes into contact with radioactive materials.
Of course, the safety of any plant depends on how it is constructed and how well it is run. A power plant of any kind may contain materials that are hazardous to workers and the nearby community, especially if it was constructed before stricter safety regulations were developed in the 1980′s. Every community should remain aware of the plants in its area and their relative safety.