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Are there nuclear plants that allow you to tour the facility and learn more about nuclear power while the plant is running?

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I don't have enough rep to answer, but you can tour the Advanced Test Reactor, operatored by INL at Idaho Falls, Idaho in the U.S.A. inlportal.inl.gov/portal/server.pt/community/community_outreach/… When I went we could even see spent fuel rods in the holding tanks that were still glowing with Cherenkov radiation! –  user8272 Mar 22 at 0:41
    
I also cannot comment, but we recently visited a nuclear reactor being disassembled in Vandellos I (not to be confused with Vandellos II). While not live, it's still active (takes many years to put it down) and it was a nice visit. –  Francisco Presencia Mar 22 at 15:30
    
If you want to learn about physics in a reactor it might be even more interesting to visit a scientific reactor (neutron source). These reactors are a lot smaller, but work similar. They do not generate electricity, but neutrons for scientific experiments. You can visit one in Germany (Munich) frm2.tum.de/en/aktuelles/info-documents/contact/… –  Jonas Stein Mar 23 at 11:47
    
    
Not a live reactor, but the culham centre for fusion energy in the UK runs tours of it's fusion reactor research facility. It's quite an interesting tour. ccfe.ac.uk/Visits.aspx –  zeocrash Mar 25 at 18:07
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8 Answers 8

In the UK. EDF Energy is opening new visitor centres at their nuclear power plants across the country, specifically:

Hunterston B in West Kilbride and Torness in Dunbar, Scotland, Sizewell B in Suffolk, Hinkley Point B in Bridgwater, Dungeness B in Kent and Heysham in Morecambe.

The visitor centres are where you can find out more about our nuclear power station operations, how we generate electricity and more about EDF Energy.

It also says that pre arranged site tours are available.

The visitor centres are open for you to visit between 09.00 and 16.00 Monday to Friday. All station tours require advanced booking. Tours will be available at the weekend, subject to availability and demand.

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When I went to the visitor center at sellafield, it was aimed at children and you could not see any of the side, a total waist of time. –  Ian Ringrose Mar 21 at 15:37
    
@IanRingrose Visitors centres and site tours are very different. –  DJClayworth Mar 21 at 16:21
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What do you expect to see anyway, glowing rods? This isn't the simpsons, the interesting mechanisms arn't visible –  JamesRyan Mar 21 at 17:38
    
The tours should be good if you can get onto one. I went on a tour of Hinkley Point B about 20 years ago when my dad worked there. I don't think we were given any special access or anything but we got to see a lot of the site including the working systems, and I found it fascinating as a teenage geek. I remember we stood directly on top of the reactor core, where there was a little sign explaining that the radiation dose you receive up there is a fraction of what you would get outside Bridgewater town hall (which is made of granite). –  Colin Pickard Mar 24 at 8:36
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You can do that in Switzerland:

  • Beznau. This is the oldest still running nuclear reactor in the world. According to their brochure you can contact the visitor center for guided tours.
  • Mühleberg. They have regular guided tours in French or German.
  • Gösgen. They have daily tours as well as a visitor centre.
  • Leibstadt. They also have tours and a visitor centre.

Something else along the same lines is the ZWILAG, the temporary storage for radioactive waste. I visited that one and it was quite interesting.

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In addition to commercial nuclear power plants, the world has many small university reactors used for research and education. For example, in the Los Angeles area a quick google search showed that UC Irvine has a reactor that allows group tours by appointment.

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Another such one is at Faculty of Nuclear Science in Prague, Czech Republic. However, I wouldn't say it "gives tours", it does, but moreorless only for local high schools. –  tohecz Mar 24 at 11:15
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In France, you can visit EDF's energy plants. You just need a valid ID (passport, ID card, etc.)

The tours are great! You can talk with technicians, engineers, plays with interactive setups to understand the processes, etc.

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businessweek.com/news/2011-09-15/… I remembered seeing press about touring French nuclear plants –  yzorg Mar 22 at 22:04
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You can also visit Kozloduy NPP in Bulgaria.

  • When Kozloduy NPP can be visited?

    The Information Centre is open for visitors every workday from 8 am to 4 pm. Visits to plant facilities are organised in workdays on a year-round basis with closing time at 3.30 pm. Visits to the Main Control Rooms and Turbine Halls of Units 5 and 6 are not organised during annual outages (advanced information is available at Tel.: +359 973 7 21 00 and +359 973 7 27 68).

  • Open Door Day

    Anyone who is interested in visiting Kozloduy NPP may use the opportunity on Open Door Days organised biannually. The date of the Open Door Day (usually Saturday) is announced in advance in the mass media and on the website of the plant in Section Current Information, News.

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In Australia you can tour the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor, the only one in the nation. Note that while it is indeed a nuclear reactor it is not a nuclear power plant, as it is dedicated to producing radioisotopes as a research facility.

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Poland doesn't have any nuclear power plants (yet), but it has a research reactor Maria in Świerk, near Warsaw, which provides tours for organized groups, targeted mostly for students.

Key information from the web site (Polish only):

  • all participants must be over 15
  • you should announce the group at least 2 weeks in advance
  • foreign citizens need to fill special application forms, which needs to be approved by the Director of the Institute for Atomic Energy POLATOM
  • entry costs 10 PLN for each person (about 3.3$)
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Just east of Toronto is the Darlington Nuclear Generating Station. The operators claim:

Located in the Municipality of Clarington in Durham Region, 70 km east of Toronto, Darlington Nuclear provides about 20 per cent of Ontario's electricity needs, enough to serve a city of two million people.

That site offers a link to a video tour of the site. Reporters and teachers have clearly been on a physical tour, since pictures and reports of the inside are easy to find, but I can't find a page online with the details. You could call or email the information centre to ask:

Information Centre 
Darlington Nuclear Ontario Power Generation 
Box 4000, Bowmanville, Ontario L1C 3Z8

Telephone: (905) 623-7122 Toll Free: (800) 461-0034

Email: DarlingtonNuclear@opg.com
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