Arkansas Power & Light Co. picks a site near Russellville for the state’s first nuclear power plant. Its original unit and Unit Two’s iconic visible centerpiece, a nearly 500-foot-tall cylindrical cooling tower, will use water from Lake Dardanelle.
Construction begins on Unit One, and Russellville Mayor C.A. Hughes calls it “the event of the century” and “greatest economic and scientific event” in Arkansas history.
Construction starts on Unit Two, which will not come online commercially until 1980, 11 years later.
Construction of Unit One is completed, and testing and grid interconnection work begin. AP&L president, CEO and Board Chairman Reeves E. Ritchie presides over the process.
Unit One is commissioned, and commercial operations begin.
Unit Two is commissioned, beginning ANO’s 22-year reign as the largest generating plant in the state, with a combined capacity over 1,800 megawatts. Union Power Station, a natural-gas-fired generator near El Dorado, starts putting out 22,000 megawatts of power in 2003. Entergy Arkansas, the renamed AP&L, however, owns only part of that generation; ANO remains its most valuable generator.
Middle South Utilities, a holding company made up of AP&L, Mississippi Power & Light, Louisiana Power & Light and New Orleans Public Service, changes its name to Entergy Corp. Entergy Arkansas retains ownership of more than 90% of ANO.
ANO’s only fatal accident occurs when a crane moving a heavy generator part collapses in a non-radiation area, killing one worker and seriously injuring four others. Unit One goes offline for refueling and Unit Two is automatically shut down.
After repairs and a technical audit, both reactors are restarted after four months. Estimated repair costs are estimated at $95 million to $120 million, not counting the value of the electricity the reactors couldn’t produce during the shutdown.
After being ranked among the nation’s lowest-rated nuclear power stations after the fatal accident and a transformer fire in December 2013, ANO gains the highest rating from the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations, a private auditing agency that evaluates nuclear station performance.
Entergy Nuclear of Jackson, Mississippi, announces promotions at Nuclear One. Doug Pehrson is named ANO’s new site vice president, replacing Joe Sullivan. Brad Wertz becomes ANO general manager, filling Pehrson’s old job. Sullivan becomes site vice president at the Waterford 3 Steam Electric Station in Killona, Louisiana.