The interactive museum is free and open to the public six days a week. Touch screens and audio exhibits guide visitors through topics such as how electricity is generated using water, coal and uranium as well as learning about how the Bad Creek, Jocassee and Keowee reservoirs all interact to generate electricity. A large, 3-D topographical map shows the lakes and where hydro stations are located.
You’ll also learn how Oconee was Duke’s first nuclear power plant (the company now has seven) and see models that demonstrate how a nuclear station works. Oconee is one of the nation’s largest nuclear plants with a generating capacity of approximately 2.6 million kilowatts. That is enough electricity to power 1.9 million homes.
The exhibits also teach about the high level of safety measures that are part of the Oconee Nuclear power plants’ daily operations. The plant has 3,000 employees who work at the site each day and Oconee was designed and built with redundant safety systems and multiple barriers to protect the public, plant workers and the environment.
Visitors will learn about nuclear waste, radiation and renewable energies such as wind, solar and biomass. “It gives us an opportunity to educate people about some of the myths that are out there (about radiation and nuclear waste) and some of the things that people just may not know,” says Amanda Dow, a spokesperson for the World of Energy/Oconee Nuclear Station.
Approximately 25,000 people visit the center each year and World of Energy has programs for groups and meeting rooms and an auditorium are also available. Several special programs are also held throughout the year. On Feb. 21 and 22, the annual Blue Ridge Orchid Society will hold its annual show and sale. World of Energy also hosts outdoor movies in June and July and an annual hunting and fishing exhibit working with the Department of Natural Resources in September.
Outdoors, a butterfly garden lends way to an overlook of the three massive pressurized water reactors of Oconee Nuclear Station. A one-quarter-mile nature trail travels alongside a large picnic area with concrete tables and a large, covered picnic shelter all on the shores of Lake Keowee. A small boat dock is available and visitors can bring their rod and reel to fish from the pier. A new helicopter landing pad at the boat dock is being constructed for corporate executives.
Know before you go;
The World of Energy is located at the Oconee Nuclear Station at 7812 Rochester Highway, Seneca, SC 29672
Phone: 800.777.1004, option 1
Hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, Noon to 5 p.m.; closed on Sunday.
All activities are free.