Visit to Farley Nuclear power PlantPosted: April 23, 2014
Yesterday I was privileged to visit Plant Farley, a nuclear power plant located near Dothan in south Alabama. The plant staff arranged for an extremely interesting and informational tour for us, and were very gracious hosts.
This was my first time actually visiting a nuclear power plant, and it helped alot to see the technology in action. Farley is a two-unit Westinghouse pressurized water reactor, so the most common type of reactor employed in the US. I got to talk to several of the operating staff and engineers and learned alot. It brought together, and filled some gaps in, all of the stuff I’ve read about nuclear power plants. It was thrilling to see the various parts of the complex in person – the cooling towers, the turbines, the control room, the diesel backup generators, the dry cask storage units for spent fuel. And they had useful models of a fuel assembly and the reactor core.
Part of the tour was the replica control room, an exact model of the actual control room used for training of operators. Here’s a picture of me “tripping” the reactor (at the direction of supervisor Randy Odom). As soon as I flipped the switch, the LED lights (above my hand) indicating the position of the control rods inside the core came down withing three seconds, indicating the control rods descending in between the fuel rods in the core and stopping the fission reaction. A really neat experience.