APR: your source for nuclear news and analysis since April 16, 2010

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Minnesota needs to get back where it was.

In 1962, the Elk River Reactor began supplying power to customers of the Rural Cooperative Power Association; this event was hailed as 'rural America's first atomic power station.' The reactor was built adjacent to an existing power plant, and was designed by ACF Industries' Nuclear Division (later bought by and merged into Allis-Chalmers Manufacturing, who completed the plant) to supply steam to the existing plant - although the plant did use a separate, external superheater fired by pulverized coal. The plant operated through 1968, at the end of the official AEC demonstration period, and the utility elected to shut down and decommission the plant instead of purchase it. But Minnesota had been a pioneer state.

Now look at this article. At some later point, Minnesota decided to ban any further nuclear plants (there were others, too, built later; two exist now) and the Republicans in that state's government are trying to overturn the ban. Let's hope for everyone's sake that they do; it's way too late in the game to be banning nuclear energy based on outdated perceptions.

At left, the Elk River station after completion of the reactor plant (indirect cycle boiling water type) whose containment is visible at the rear of the plant. Between the containment structure and the plant is the housing (and stack) for the coal-fired superheater. This photo is from an old Allis-Chalmers annual report; note that the Rural Co-Operative Power Association name is airbrushed off of the front of the plant.

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