The NRC: A View from a Summer Intern

After graduating from Florida State University with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering in Spring 2011, I was fortunate enough to be hired as a summer intern at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. My experience at the NRC so far has been everything I was hoping for and more.

I was given a technical project to develop a computer model that would benefit the NRC staff members in their future safety reviews. The model takes spent fuel data as input and gives the transient thermodynamic heat load seen in a spent fuel pool as an output. I will continue to work on this project next year while I pursue a master’s degree, because I am involved in a joint university-NRC sponsorship program. This will effectively combine oversight of my college professors with my NRC mentors.

In addition, I have been working with various staff members in my branch, the Systems Balance of Plant Branch in the Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation, on different research items and reviews of spent fuel pool equipment. I also took several training courses this summer that ranged from what the NRC does to the engineering concepts behind nuclear reactors. Through all of this, I have been able to apply what I learned in both training courses, as well as my college courses, to real scenarios in the NRC.

Working with the NRC put engineering into a different perspective for me. I always assumed engineering was focused on design, but seeing how engineering principles are applied to the regulation of nuclear power plants in order to ensure public safety introduced me to a whole new side. Because of this, I have shifted my career goals to the nuclear power and safety field. I hope that by the end of this summer, my completed work will add to the NRC’s mission of public safety, and further my engineering knowledge and skills.

Jerry Tyberghein
NRC Summer Hire Student