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nuclear power

Small portraits of Deb Goode Jarison's parents hang on a wall of the small office in her Yellow Springs home, where much of the work she performs as founder of EECAP takes place.
Andy Jerison

Recently, Dayton History opened to the public their latest historical exhibit detailing the history of operations at the Mound Nuclear Facility in Miamisburg. The Cold War Discovery Center highlights the work conducted at Mound Laboratories. By all accounts, it was important work. It was top-secret, and it was dangerous for the workers - many of whom were exposed to radiation and other toxic elements used at the site.

Dayton History

A Miamisburg site that played a big role in nuclear history will soon be open to the public. It’s the home of the former Mound Laboratories - known to some in the Miami Valley for its important role in developing the first atomic bomb. Beginning this month the Cold War-era Mound will also house a new Dayton History museum. Organizers hope it will showcase this critical but often controversial chapter of American history.

At the height of operations after World War II, Mound Laboratories in Miamisburg employed around 2,500 workers.

Char Daston/WYSO

It’s easy to forget about where you get the energy that powers your home. But back in the 1960s, some of Piqua’s electricity came from its nuclear power plant, the first small-town sized nuclear reactor in the country. Listener Karen Power wanted to know why the reactor was built in Piqua. I drove down to the old reactor site to find out.

“An ideal location”

“Here for the first time anywhere, the turbine generators of a municipally-owned power plant are using steam produced by nuclear energy for the generation of electricity.”

Norm and Betty Jo Anderson have lived in Piketon since the mid-1950s, when Norm, aka "Hard Head," started working at the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant.
Lewis Wallace / WYSO

UPDATE: As of Thursday, Dec. 17, it appears likely that Congress will fully fund the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant cleanup for FY2016. A spokesperson for the main contractor at the plant says it's too soon to be sure, but layoffs appear unlikely.

Norm and Betty Jo Anderson have lived in Piketon, Ohio, a tiny town in the Appalachian foothills, since the 1950s.

The Enrico Fermi Nuclear Power plant, on Lake Erie.
James Marvin Phelps / Flickr Creative Commons

Environmentalists have traditionally been very skeptical of nuclear power, but recently some climate scientists have been gaining attention because of their support for nuclear power as a tool to help reduce carbon emissions. University of Dayton professor Bob Brecha is doubtful that this is a constructive path for sustainable energy.