U.S. NRC Blog

Transparent, Participate, and Collaborate

Category Archives: General

Throwback Thursday – Name the Scientist

Chemist Glenn Seaborg stands next to a periodic table. He is pointing at the synthetic element seaborgium, which is named after him. Dr. Seaborg, a former Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemestry in 1951.

This scientist is best known for discovering an important element, as well as winning the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. His other claim to fame – and the one he apparently cherished most highly – was having an element named in his honor. What was the scientist’s name? What element did he discover and which one was named for him?

Indian Point Transformer Fire

Diane Screnci
Senior Public Affairs Officer
Region I

NRC inspectors are following up on a transformer fire at Indian Point Energy Center over the weekend. The NRC Resident Inspectors for Indian Point – who work at the plant on a daily basis – are monitoring activities at the site while plant workers are troubleshooting and looking for the cause of the fire on the Unit 3 main transformer.

The transformer fire happened at about 6 p.m. on Saturday night. A sprinkler system initially extinguished the flames, but it reignited and was put out by the onsite fire brigade and local fire departments. The fire caused the reactor to automatically shut down, as designed. All safety systems worked as designed. There was no danger to the public and no release of radiation. The reactor is stable. Unit 2 continues to operate at full power.

Plant operators declared an “unusual event” – the lowest of the emergency classifications – in accordance with plant procedures. All plants have procedures, approved by the NRC, that dictate how events are classified to ensure appropriate steps are taken to respond to the event and to communicate the event to local and state agencies and the NRC.

In addition to cooling provided by fans, the main transformer is also cooled by oil flowing through it. On Saturday, oil from the transformer spilled into the plant’s discharge canal. Entergy has been working to determine how much oil was spilled.

The transformer that failed carries electricity from the main generator to the electrical grid. The same type of equipment can be found at any plant that generates electricity. It is on the electrical generation side of the plant – not the nuclear side.

As far as next steps go, plant employees will determine what happened and why. They will repair or replace any equipment that was damaged in the fire. The plant can restart when ready. NRC inspectors will be monitoring Entergy’s actions every step of the way, ensuring workers are taking all appropriate actions.

As we do with any event at a plant, we’ll continue to review what happened and how the plant responded. If need be, we’ll send additional inspectors to the site to look further into the event and its effects.

The NRC Celebrates Public Service Recognition Week

PSRW_logo_300x134Public Service Recognition Week has been celebrated the first week of May since 1985. It’s a time set aside to honor the men and women who serve our nation as federal, state, county and local government employees. In honor of this week, we bring you a Q&A with Dan Dorman. He is representative of the more than 3,000 employees of the NRC who are dedicated to their job – and good at what they do.

Q. What does your job entail and how long have you been in federal service?

A. I am the Regional Administrator for NRC’s Region I office in Pennsylvania. We oversee safety and security at 25 nuclear reactors in the Northeast and more than 900 nuclear materials licensees in the eastern United States. I’ve been with the NRC for 24 years in various roles, most recently as deputy director of the operating reactors office in headquarters and before that as deputy director of the nuclear materials office.  Over the years, I’ve served in reactor licensing and oversight, engineering research, nuclear security, and fuel facility licensing and oversight. Before joining the NRC in 1991, I served as a nuclear submarine officer in the U.S. Navy for almost a decade.

Q. Why did you decide to go into federal government service?

A. My degree is in naval architecture and marine engineering; I joined the Navy out of college to get operational experience that I felt would enhance my skills. I left the Navy for work-life balance and came to the NRC to apply the nuclear power knowledge and skills that I had gained through my Navy service.

Dan Dorman

Dan Dorman

Q. Over the years , what has kept you interested in your job and willing to stay in federal service?

A. When I first came to the NRC, I had no intention of staying this long. The main reasons I have are the mission and the people. During the first decade I was at the NRC, the agency reduced from roughly 3300 to 2700 staff and opportunities for promotion were rare, but as I got engaged in our public health and safety mission and came to realize the caliber and engagement of the people I was working with, my sense of family and dedication to the mission made my career choice clear.

Q. What would you consider to be one of your greatest challenges while working for the NRC?

A. I have become fascinated with people (which is a big deal for an engineer!). A lot of times our biggest challenges are working with people who have shared goals (e.g., public health and safety, common defense and security) but differing visions of how best to achieve those goals. Working security and incident response issues with other federal agencies after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and working with international counterparts to enhance nuclear safety worldwide following the Fukushima accident are great examples. We all have a passion to make it better, but the hard work is in listening to each other’s ideas and not jumping ahead to drive to your own preconceived conclusions. In the end, if we can hear each other out, we end up with a stronger and more sustainable path forward.

Q. What would you consider to be one of your greatest work accomplishments?

A. It was a tremendous privilege to be part of the NRC’s Near-Term Task Force on Fukushima lessons learned in 2011. The team we put together had tremendous diversity of experience and perspective. In 90 days we had time to engage senior NRC staff to explore a broad range of issues arising from the accident even as news continued to come in daily from Japan. We did not have time or the tasking for public engagement. Still, we produced a report and recommended actions that have stood the test of time. The most important safety improvements have already been completed at many nuclear power plants and will be completed at all of them by the end of next year, and our recommendations have served as a model for other nuclear safety regulators all over the world.

Q. What would you like the public to know about federal employees, that perhaps they don’t know?

A. We are your neighbors and active participants in your community. The people I work with have exceptional skills and experience and are highly motivated by our mission to protect people and the environment. We’re also active members of our communities, giving back in many ways well beyond our jobs. We give generously to help those less fortunate, we organize blood drives, we do outreach in our schools to help encourage our young people to develop their skills and be engaged citizens. Beyond our careers and our mission, we are working every day to make the world a better place, now and for the future.

The NRC Blog – Its First Four Years

Eliot Brenner
Public Affairs Director

Four years ago, just six weeks before the nuclear accident at Fukushima, the NRC initiated this blog. As we said at the time: the blog is intended to serve as a vehicle for informing, explaining and clarifying the actions, roles and responsibilities of the NRC, raising awareness about our agency and its mission, and – most importantly – giving us another opportunity to hear from you.

Blog button medWe believe the blog has served that purpose well. In the past four years, we have published some 540 posts on a wide variety of subjects from tiny jelly fish affecting a nuclear power plant to updates on Hurricane Sandy and posts on nuclear history (some of our most popular posts). Posts have been written by staff throughout the agency and the regions, including the Chairman and Executive Director for Operations, as well as technical staff and public affairs officers. We have strived to model plain language in our blog posts – contrary, perhaps, to some of our official communications – so that these subjects are more readily understood by the public, for whom the blog is intended.

We have also found the blog to be a lively source of comments. Some 4,800 comments have been approved and posted in the past four years. A quick review of the comments reflects how liberally the NRC applies its blog comment guidelines. At times, though, comments may contain personal attacks, “four-letter-words,” or other violations of our comment policy. When that occurs, we remove that verbiage (and note that) and then post the comment. We also may occasionally move some comments to our Open Forum section if they’ve strayed too far from the original post. Very few of the submitted comments are not posted (with the exception of duplicates).

Over the past four years or so, there have been more than 650,000 views to NRC blog. We’re happy the information is reaching an audience. If you have suggestions for topics for future blog posts, please let us know in the comments below.

I should note that the blog is the oldest but not the only social media platform the NRC uses. We also use Twitter, Facebook and YouTube and the photo gallery platform Flickr as well.




@NRCgov_jobs Joins Twitter

Kimberly English
Recruitment Program Manager

There is a new way to hear about careers and career-related information at the NRC. Beginning today, you’ll be able to find out about the latest vacancy announcements and employment information by just following the new Twitter feed.

tweetgraphicThe tweets will go out the same time a vacancy announcement is open to the public or when we attend career fairs or just want to share information related to careers at the NRC. Follow NRC’s careers tweets at @NRCgov_jobs. The NRC’s jobs account will be listed and then simply click the “Follow” button underneath.

We also recently launched a careers page on LinkedIn where we share information on jobs and interesting factoids as well as information on why the NRC is a great place to work and seen as an employer of choice. Log into your LinkedIn account and in the search field type U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and join the more than 10,000 people following our careers page.

We don’t just hire engineers! Take a look and who knows…Your most rewarding career move could be to the NRC!



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