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Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station Tour

Every six months, the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station shuts down one of its three reactors for refueling and maintenance. During these closures, APS sometimes invites various government officials and others to tour the closed reactor. Jack Smith, a Yavapai County District Supervisor, took APS up on the offer, touring the shut-down reactor on Monday, Oct. 23.

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Arizona’s Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station provides 35 percent of the electric power generated in Arizona and is the largest net generator of electricity in the nation. (APS/Courtesy)

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Yavapai County District Supervisor Jack Smith (third from the right in the second row) stands with a number of other visitors who got to tour Arizona’s Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station on Monday, Oct. 23. (APS/Courtesy)

By: Chris Aanensen

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The deep blue of Cherenkov radiation reveals the location of the fuel assemblies within the open reactor core (foreground). The tube beneath the platform, a tube-shaped fuel handling machine extracts one of these assemblies. (APS/Courtesy)

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In a football-field-sized storage facility on the grounds of Palo Verde, 144 20-foot tall concrete casks contain the nuclear generating station’s spent fuel rods. The casks require no power, but are monitored continuously. (APS/Courtesy)

By: Chris Aanensen

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A pressurized water reactor uses three loops of water. A closed loop, heated by the nuclear reactor (red), runs through pipes that heat water in adjacent boilers (orange), causing steam (yellow) to spin turbines and produce electricity. This steam is condensed by cooling water (blue) and returns to the boilers. After this heat exchange, this water (blue) flows back out to the cooling towers, where it is pumped to the top and cools as it falls, as droplets, to the bottom. (APS/Courtesy)

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This view of the interior of one of Palo Verde’s reactors reveals the geometry involved in the placement of fuel rods. (APS/Courtesy)

By: Chris Aanensen