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Nuclear Energy: Classroom Activities

Nuclear Power and Your Community


Goal

To explore the geography of nuclear power plants in the United States and in your community.

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Background Information

Nuclear power plants are distributed unevenly across the United States. Several factors control their distribution, including the size of the population, the available fuel sources for electricity generation, and the political viewpoints concerning nuclear power within a state. Nuclear power plants do not last forever and remain dormant for several years before the slow process of decommissioning occurs.

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Activity Overview

Students examine the spatial distribution of nuclear power plants in the United States. They gain an insight into how much of the power their community uses comes from nuclear vs. non-nuclear sources.

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Materials and Equipment

internet access.

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Activity

  1. Have students go to the website of the Nuclear Energy Institute.
  2. Tell them to examine the map of the United States and answer the following.
    1. Which states generate electricity using nuclear power?
      Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New, York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.
    2. Where is the nearest nuclear power station to your community?
      Answers will vary by state.
  3. Have students go to the nuclear power reactor locator page at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission website.
  4. Tell students to use the map shown to answer the following:
    1. When was the nearest nuclear power reactor to your community built?
      Answers will vary by state.
    2. What type of reactor is it?
      Answers will vary by state.
    3. How much electricity does it produce?
      Answers will vary by state.
    4. When will it be decommissioned?
      Answers will vary by state.
  5. 5. Have students go to the reactor decommissioning page at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
  6. Tell students to use the map shown to answer the following:
    1. When will your nearest reactor be decommissioned?
      Answers will vary by state.
    2. For another decommissioned reactor, briefly describe what happened at the site.
      Answers will vary by state.

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