In July 1966 NSP opened the Pathfinder Nuclear Power Generating Station. It was the world's first all-nuclear generating station.
In the early 1960s, optimism was in the air. Sioux Falls was a hub of progressive industry. Our meat packing was second to none, The Manchester Biscuit Co. was cranking out crispy crackers, wafers and biscuits, and the Zip Feed Mill was milling feed quite zippily.
In the mid 60s, NSP built the Pathfinder Nuclear Generating Station. It was completed in July of 1966 by Northern States Power. This was years before Three-Mile Island and Chernobyl gave nuclear energy a bad name.
The Pathfinder atomic power plant's charter was to explore through practical applications, the peaceful uses of atomic power. It was named for Maj. Gen. John C. Fremont, called "Pathfinder" by the indiginous people of this nation.
Pathfinder was quite a feather in our cap and local businesses played it up as a local attraction. Now-a-days it would be considered more of a security concern and a target for terrorism. Back then, our friend the atom was helping us out with our day-to-day chores.
This is another shot from a bit different angle. Click on that to get a nice big photo. It's hard to believe that this plant ran for so short a time.
The Pathfinder Nuclear Generating Station was run only briefly at peak output (about 30 minutes), before the plant was deemed incapable of safe operation, but the lessons learned at Pathfinder live on in other atomic generating stations. Pathfinder ceased operation in October of 1967 and was converted to a gas/coal powered station. In 1990, the reactor vessel was removed and shipped away for safe disposal. In 1994, Pathfinder was renamed the Angus C. Anson Generating Plant to honor NSP's SD division manager who died in a plane crash with Governor George Mickelson in 1993.
Page Updated: 01/30/2013