Monday, September 5, 2011

Visit to the “World of Energy” at the Oconee Nuclear Station in Seneca, SC

Click here to return to the Keowee-Toxaway State Natural Area Post.

02 Entrance long

For years I’ve heard about Duke Power Company’s “World of Energy” museum. It’s nearby, in Seneca, South Carolina, only fifteen miles or so from Keowee-Toxaway State Park.

Part of the attraction of this visit was the opportunity to drive two more of the picturesque roads found in this area. First, Route 133, or Crowe Creek Road. And then Route 183, the Walhalla Highway. Talk about natural and social scenery! I should have taken a few photos along the way. But really, these narrow roads weren’t made for cars to stop while their drivers wander around taking photos! Just not enough room.

map to woeI had no difficulty finding the place. Though the Google GPS system lady did tell me to turn right into the Complex, rather than left. A minor inconvenience.

03 LobbyThis is an impressive museum. With, judging from the facilities and intensive maintenance operations, an ample budget.

It’s maintained, of course, by Duke Power to provide visitors with information about nuclear power generation. And, as you should assume, with an emphasis on safety and efficiency. But I found the information provided useful and interesting. Indeed, it helped to balance the negative information pouring from Japan these days from their current political battle over nuclear power generation.

01 EntranceThe Museum’s program began in 1969. Right while the nearby Oconee Nuclear Power Plant was under construction. Visitors were able to look out the windows and watch the plant being built, according to material provided by the Museum.

05 kids roomIt’s been expanded considerably since 1969, with what appears to be emphasis on the younger visitor. Above you see a multimedia room dedicated to the little ones, complete with a miniature conference table. It’s just off the main lobby.

03 LobbySpeaking of the main lobby, it featured an Oconee Nuclear employee art exhibit when I went through. Scheduled to run until September 5th. Here’s a sample of the work on display.

07 butterfly gardenThe museum also maintains a short hiking trail, and even a butterfly garden. These features take advantage of the beautiful natural environment of this site, and support the Museum’s over-arching message of safety and environmental consciousness.

04 topo mapKids of all ages should have a great time here. But adults too will find displays of interest. At least I did. 11 reactor modelThis topographical map is a good example. Yes, children are encouraged to push buttons that illuminate bulbs at various positions on the map. But the display also gives the adult observer an excellent notion of the lake and its surrounding region. I’ve never done museum work, but I can imagine that appealing to both children and adults is a challenge.

09 reactorBe sure to take time to watch the videos offered, and to watch the displays. Interesting stuff. Unless you’re a working nuclear engineer you’re bound to learn something!

Here’s a short video of clips taken during the visit.

So there you have it. A half-day visit to Duke Energy’s World of Energy Museum. I learned a lot about nuclear power generation during my visit, and hope you do as well. Now, back to beautiful Keowee-Toxaway to watch the color of the trees change as the sun sets.

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