Are there nuclear plants that allow you to tour the facility and learn more about nuclear power while the plant is running?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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$)
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
Time sensitive update: I just received an email that reads in part:
Darlington Refurbishment - Doors Open
We would like to invite you and your family and friends to learn more about the Darlington Refurbishment Project, take a behind-the-scene tour of the reactor mock-up and check out the new Darlington Public Visitor Centre. Project staff will be on hand to answer any questions you may have. Pre-registration is not required.
The key to project success in Refurbishment is the front-end planning. Replacing the core reactor components inside each Darlington reactor is a critical part of the refurbishment exercise. High-quality training, with the right tools, in the right environment, will help maximize efficiency and minimize costs. This is your chance to get a first-hand look at this upfront work.
Please join us at the Darlington Energy Complex: 1855 Energy Drive, Courtice, ON
Tuesday Nov. 4, between 5:30 - 8 p.m. or
Wednesday, Nov. 5, between 5:30 - 8 p.m. or
Saturday, Nov. 8, between 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Refurbishment is a significant investment and a major construction project for our company one which involves a great deal of, planning, hard work and dedication. It is a tremendous opportunity for us all to be a part of this vitally important project. A refurbished Darlington Nuclear Station will provide 30 more years of safe, clean, reliable electricity.
There are two in Texas that I know of.
Quoting http://www.texasoutside.com/glenrose/sites.htm, "About a mile inside the front gate of the Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant is the Visitors Center, open from 9 am to 4 pm Monday through Saturday. Group tours can be arranged by reservation only. The Visitors Center offers several interactive displays and a 10-minute video explaining how nuclear power is made. The tour includes a view of a control room simulator in which reactor operators are trained, as well as a driving tour for an up-close view of Comanche Peak Power Plant. Travel north on FM 56, to the Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant — (254) 897-5554."