Note: This article was originally written in 2003. Some minor modifications have been made since then.
Our country monitors possible terrorist activity that could occur on US soil. Arizonans have been well aware, since the tragic events surrounding the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, that there are hot spots in Arizona that could become terrorist targets. Most notable among them are the Hoover Dam, the Grand Canyon, and the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station.
The Arizona Public Service owns a significant interest (29.1%) in the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station and operates the facility. Other owners include the Salt River Project, El Paso Electric Co., Southern California Edison, New Mexico Public Service Co., Southern California Public Power Authority, and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.
Here are some interesting facts about the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station :
- Construction began in 1976. There are three units, the last of which was completed in 1988. The total cost to build the plant was $ 5.9 billion.
- The Palo Verde plant is the largest nuclear power generation facility in the United States. It is located about 50 miles west of Phoenix in Tonopah, Arizona. The facility is on approximately 4,000 acres. Approximately 2,500 people are employed there.
- In 2000, the Palo Verde nuclear plant generated 30.4 million megawatts of energy.
- About 4 million people in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas receive power generated by the Palo Verde plant.
- Palo Verde is the only nuclear power facility in the world that uses treated wastewater effluent to cool the water.
- Palo Verde does not use fossil fuels to generate electricity. It is a zero emission facility.
- The reactors at Palo Verde are housed in an airtight reinforced concrete structure designed to withstand the force of a jet aircraft.
The following information was obtained from the Arizona Division of Emergency Management (ADEM) website:
The Arizona Division of Emergency Management (ADEM) is responsible for the Arizona Off-Site Emergency Response Plan. In the event of an emergency, the Director of the Arizona Radiation Regulatory Agency (ARRA) will recommend to the Governor or the Director of ADEM, the protective measures to be taken. The Governor or the Director of ADEM will decide the protection measures to be taken by people within the emergency zone. The decision is given to the Maricopa County Department of Emergency Management (MCDEM), which will then take the necessary steps to ensure the safety of the residents. They will post an Emergency Alert System (EAS) message telling residents what to do based on the Governor’s decision.
Improved security in Arizona can also mean longer lines at border crossings and at airports. But other than that, unless an attack occurs, the governor requests that Arizonans continue their normal activities.
For more information on preparing Arizona for a terrorist attack or other emergency, and the current Alert Level for Homeland Security, visit the Arizona Division of Emergency Management website.
To report any suspicious activity in Arizona, call the Department of Public Safety’s Home Readiness Operations Center at (602) 223-2680.