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River Bend Tour Provides Insight Into Nuclear Industry

Students and faculty wear hear hats and smile for a photo

LSU Law students toured the River Bend Nuclear Station in St. Francisville on November 5, 2014.

When LSU Law student Lauren Heinen (’15) learned of the opportunity to visit River Bend Nuclear Station in St. Francisville on November 5, she jumped at the chance.

“The opportunity to get a glimpse into a base load nuclear power plant was one I just couldn’t pass up,” Heinen said.

Coordinated by Professors Bob Sloan and Keith Hall, the field trip provided the students with insight into light water technology, uranium enrichment, fuel rod fabrication, the handling of spent fuel, and plant decommissioning, among others.

“I think the coolest thing was actually being able to see the top of the nuclear reactor capsule,” said Heinen. “I believe that these types of trips add reality to legal studies and allow students to really understand the depth of the issues discussed in classes.”

“Our tour of the River Bend nuclear power station is one of a series of energy facility visits we have been organizing for those of our students who are particularly focused on energy law and regulatory issues in Louisiana, across the nation, and indeed around the world,” said Professor Sloan.  “The technology related to nuclear plant construction and operations all the way through the long-term spent fuel management is exceedingly complex.  Safety requirements are extremely rigorous and the corresponding licensing (and other) requirements at the state and federal levels are extraordinarily detailed and demanding.  Visiting a major plant like River Bend ideally gives students a sense of the myriad challenges facing nuclear operators along with a good sense of where the nuclear industry fits in the nation’s overall energy picture.”

According to their website, the Entergy Nuclear subsidiary owns, operates, supports and provides management services to a national fleet of 12 reactors in 10 locations in the United States, including River Bend Nuclear Station. In June 1986, River Bend became the second nuclear power plant to produce electricity in Louisiana. River Bend generates 974 megawatts of electricity and its output meets approximately 10 percent of the total energy demand of Louisiana.