March 29, 2010
For Immediate Release
Ann Becker
Entergy Services, Inc.
ANO’s Boy Scout Merit Badge University Sets Attendance Record

Annual event draws 200 participants for hands-on learning activities and plant tours

Russellville, Ark. – Arkansas Nuclear One’s annual Boy Scout Merit Badge University set a new attendance record recently and left little doubt that the annual event has become a favorite for area youth and adults. Attendance reached 200 – the largest since the university was launched in 2004.

The Merit Badge University was attended by Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts and visitors from Arkansas and Oklahoma. Created originally for scouts, the event is now open to all youth in 6th through 12th grades.

“We really enjoy bringing kids and their parents to ANO to talk about science and technology and give them an insider’s view of nuclear power,” said Jeff Priore, an ANO system engineer and local scout master who coordinates the university. “The university has caught on as a great learning opportunity for young people and adults alike.”

During the event, a number of technology- and career-based merit badge courses were taught in ANO’s training center. Courses covered chemistry, space exploration, electronics and electricity, engineering, nuclear science, architecture and landscape architecture, aviation, and emergency preparedness and concluded with a group luncheon.

“The hands-on classes are a great way for youth to learn about nuclear power and the many career options available,” said Sharon Giblin, treasurer for Troop 214 in Russellville and parent of a soon-to-be Eagle Scout. “The instructors are our own hometown adults donating their time and efforts to teach the leaders of tomorrow.”

Homeschool parent Sharon Garrett attended the university with her children and other members of the Russellville Education Association of Christian Homeschoolers.

“As homeschool families, we’re very excited to have the opportunity to enjoy such quality educational experiences,” Garrett said. “I stayed at ANO for the entire event and could not have been more impressed with its organization as well as its content.”

A number of ANO employees volunteered to teach merit-badge classes and serve as tour guides for university attendees. One of them was Patrick Williams, manager of system engineering and scout master for Troop 214 in Russellville. He taught the merit-badge engineering class.

“At the university, kids get to see things they don’t normally see, like the control room simulator and radiation protection equipment,” Williams said. “After they watched a demo of a small steam engine, I heard one scout say, ‘Now that was cool!’”

For future events, ANO hopes to expand the Merit Badge University to reach an even wider audience from area schools and offer more educational opportunities for youth and adults.

“We see a great deal of potential in including science fairs and other hands-on learning activities during the university that can enhance science and technology curriculums in schools,” Priore said. “This is an event that appeals to a larger group outside of scouting and also gets kids thinking about careers paths and the important role that science can play in their futures. It’s definitely a win-win opportunity for students and for the educational community.”

Educators, school administrators and parents who are interested in learning more about the Merit Badge University and how they can participate in future activities may contact Priore at 479-858-5572, or

Entergy Corporation is an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations. Entergy owns and operates power plants with approximately 30,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity, and it is the second-largest nuclear generator in the United States. Entergy delivers electricity to 2.7 million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Entergy has annual revenues of more than $10 billion and approximately 15,000 employees.