River Bend Station held a “Night at the Museum” on December 16th to showcase the Energy Center renovations that our NAYGN chapter has taken on. We invited member from our local community to the event so they would be aware of what we will have to offer when the center reopens in 2015. Below is the press release that our site communicate put together for this.
Area students will one day be able to learn a lesson from Thomas Edison, ride in a simulated coal mine traveling into the depths of the earth and peer into the future of fission and nuclear power.
Tours are planned sometime next year at the River Bend Station Energy Education Center thanks to volunteer work on the part of members of the North American Young Generation in Nuclear chapter and Louisiana Nuclear Society.
“We want to educate the community on how power is produced through different forms of energy with special focus on nuclear power,” event coordinator Jeffrey Hausaman said. “There is so much excitement around reviving the former energy center which hasn’t been used in more than a decade.”
About a dozen visitors attended an informal open house Tuesday night to view renovations underway by an all-volunteer staff of young professionals working at River Bend. Plans are to continue refurbishing displays like the talking Thomas Edison and the energy efficiency panel. Some exhibits like the musical solar power display and radiation detection stand are still working.
Interactive displays are bountiful. There also is a bicycle one can pedal to generate electricity. Visitors can walk through a coal mine, shut the gates and take a trip down into the earth. New iPads will soon house interactive learning activities. And video screens are being ordered to display a variety of educational energy related videos.
“This is exciting! This could be a real gem of an outreach center for Entergy,” said William Katzman of the California Institute of Technology’s Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory in Livingston. He and two of his staff members from the National Science Foundation site attended the event at the invitation of Hausaman. Hausaman got the idea to refurbish the center after attending LIGO’s Science Saturday program.
Plans for the River Bend center include adding new exhibits dedicated to events that have impacted the nuclear industry such as Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima. The exhibit feature events that shaped the industry. Arriving soon is a snap circuit work station that allows students to build their own snap circuits.
“Our hope for the future is to inspire visitors,” said Natalie Wood, an engineer and site coordinator for the plant vice president. “We envision students and the community learning about one of the safest more reliable sources of energy. Everyone who has seen this is excited. And some of our co-workers remember touring the center when they were in school.”
The center has historical information with short summaries about the work of scientists in the energy field. Some information about the plant’s start up more than 25 years ago discusses Gulf States Utilities, which built the plant that Entergy acquired. Volunteers added a panel to explain future sources of power like tidal, ocean and thermal.
“My daughter Kaitlyn loved it,” said new River Bend operator Orville McClure, who spent time at each exhibit explaining its significance.
Hausaman said there is still a lot of work to do to revive the center but added, “we’ve got a dedicated group of volunteers and a plant administration that is 100 percent behind us.” He envisions planned tours, quarterly community meetings and other related events.