Getting the next generation interested in nuclear science

Youngsters tour the NRC training simulator

The NRC’s Technical Training Center, located in Chattanooga, Tenn., recently hosted 12 young scientists and engineers who were children and friends of NRC employees. The training center includes several state-of-the-art classrooms and – most importantly – a control room simulator used to train NRC technical staff.

The youngsters got an up-close-and-personal tour of the simulator, and were amazed to see the complexity of the buttons, switches, and alarms covering the control panels.

Training center employees enjoyed introducing the kids to the NRC, and the fields of science and engineering. The theme was “Inspector Training” and the day started with a quiz show on the NRC and its inspection program, and then the children had fun with hands-on science experiments.

In addition to touring the simulator, the youngsters got a demonstration of the center’s x-ray unit and got dressed in the protective clothing that NRC inspectors may wear when visiting nuclear power plants.

Young visitors try on protective clothing.

The day was exciting for everyone involved, and served as an important outreach activity to the young community about the NRC and its responsibilities as a regulator. The training center looks forward to future opportunities like this to encourage our youth to apply themselves in the fields of engineering and science.

N. Jeff Griffis, CHP
Senior Health Physicist
NRC Technical Training Center

Picking up the pieces after Hurricane Irene

The weather is perfect in King of Prussia, Pa., today. The sun is shining; the humidity is low; a slight breeze is blowing. It’s quite different from over the weekend when Hurricane Irene roared through the area, bringing with it high winds and heavy rain.

Two Region I nuclear power plants, which shut down during the storm, are in the process of restarting today. At Oyster Creek in Lacey Township, N.J., operators have already begun increasing power. The plant was shut down early Saturday evening as a precaution in preparation for Irene. The unit weathered the storm and plant workers have assured there was no damage to equipment or facilities.

Calvert Cliffs Unit 1 in Lusby, Md., was knocked off-line when some siding struck a transformer, causing a turbine trip, which in turn caused a reactor trip. Workers there are also assessing equipment and making repairs before returning to power.

The other units in the region made it through the storm, although several reduced power as a precaution. In addition, electrical power to some emergency sirens was lost at several sites. While many sirens have had power restored or are running on backup power, contingency plans are in place to notify the public of an emergency, if necessary. Crews are working to get the remainder up and running.

The NRC had dispatched additional inspectors to nine sites to supplement the resident inspectors during the storm. Those additional inspectors completed their work over the weekend and are back to their normal jobs today. The resident inspectors are busy carrying out our inspection program and assuring the plants are continuing to operate safely.

The NRC and the nuclear plant operators worked hard to assure that the plants were safe over the weekend. As we said before the hurricane hit, we were prepared to respond quickly and effectively had any problems developed.

Diane Screnci
Region 1 Public Affairs Officer