Duke Energy donates school supplies to help kick-off the school year

With school back in session, Duke Energy’s nuclear sites are helping needy elementary and middle school students start the year off right with loads of school supplies. Across the fleet, sites sponsored back to school supply drives in an effort to help local schools and organizations in each of their areas.

Harris Nuclear Plant in New Hill, N.C. donated 370 book bags filled with pencils, paper, file folders, crayons, erasers and pencil boxes. In addition to school supplies, Harris teammates donated $500 worth of cleaning supplies, including disinfectant wipes and tissues. Five area schools benefitted from Harris’ overwhelming support.

In Hartsville, S.C., 12 area elementary schools benefitted from the donations from Robinson Nuclear Plant. This year, teammates donated 386 stuffed book bags and $1,000 towards general school supplies. Each book bag was packed with pencils, paper, crayons, rulers and other school supplies.

The Women in Nuclear (WIN) group at the Oconee Nuclear Station in Seneca, S.C. collected supplies to benefit children in the care of the Oconee Department of Social Services. Teammates donated more than $600 and five boxes worth of school supplies.

Teammates at Catawba Nuclear Station in York, S.C. collected approximately 200 backpacks to donate to local schools. While sister site, McGuire Nuclear Station, near Charlotte, N.C. just wrapped up its month long school supply drive. Their efforts yielded a van full of book bags, lunch boxes and supplies to benefit an area elementary school.

This is just one of many collection drives Duke Energy nuclear teammates participate in as part of their willingness to give back to the communities where they live and work.

Nuclear observation program helps to ensure public safety

Employees working at nuclear plants may feel like they are always being watched and, in reality, this is partly true. Monitored security cameras are located throughout the plant property and buildings, and employees only have authorized access to plant areas based on their level of security clearance and the type of work they perform.
Duke Energy’s Fitness for Duty (FFD) Program, which complies with all Nuclear Regulatory Commission rules, is designed to provide reasonable assurance that individuals are not under the influence of any substance (legal or illegal), or mentally or physically impaired from any cause, which in anyway adversely affects their ability to safely and competently perform their duties. In addition to initial testing, the FFD program includes random drug and alcohol screening to ensure employees are continuously able to safely perform their duties.

The FFD program also includes a behavioral observation component. Under the behavior observation program, workers must inform their supervisors and plant security of any legal action that may impact the worker’s own trustworthiness and reliability. Workers must inform their supervisor of personal issues that could affect their job performance.

Additionally, workers are trained to recognize behavior changes in co-workers that might constitute a risk to the individual, others, public health and safety, or plant security. Workers are advised to report such observations, suspicious or unusual behaviors promptly to management or plant Security. Suspicious behavior could be a worker observed in an area of the plant where they don’t have authorization to be, or making statements about harming themselves, others or plant equipment.
While the nuclear observation program might seem far-reaching, the primary goal is to protect the health and safety of the public from intentional or unintentional damage to the plant. This means a safe plant for both plant employees and the public.

You can read more about nuclear behavior observation requirements on this NRC blog.

Annual hunting and fishing event draws a big crowd

The 8th Annual National Hunting and Fishing Day event held at the World of Energy in Seneca, S.C. on Saturday, Sept. 20 was a huge success with an estimated 1,500 people in attendance. Children of all ages and their families helped celebrate the great outdoors with hands-on activities such as kayaking, archery, fly fishing and much more.  Dozens of conservation organizations were on hand with exhibits to help educate attendees on the importance of taking care of our natural resources. “This is a wonderful event for families to enjoy together in a beautiful outdoor setting at the World of Energy,” said Angela Viney of Upstate Forever, one of the event’s sponsors. “There is truly an activity for everyone to enjoy, and it is also a good venue to learn about conservation from many local groups and agencies attending.”

The World of Energy is the education center for the Oconee Nuclear Station and provides a great backdrop for the activities associated with National Hunting and Fishing Day. “Our mission at the World of Energy is to educate the community on the benefits of nuclear energy,” said Amanda Dow, communications consultant for the World of Energy. “Part of our educational process here at the center is to focus on conservation efforts, so hosting this event is a perfect fit.”

The annual Hunting and Fishing Day event is made possible through partnerships with Duke Energy, Upstate Forever, US Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation, Weatherby Foundation, Outdoor Adventures, Academy Sports, Harry Hampton Memorial Wildlife Fund, Clemson Cooperative Extension, SC 4H Shooting Sports, DNR and Trout Unlimited.

Hunting and angling together are an economic force worth $76 billion a year. A Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation report shows if hunters and anglers were a nation, their Gross Domestic Product would rank 57 out of 181 countries. About 1.6 million jobs depend on hunters and anglers. The economic impact of fishing, hunting and wildlife viewing in South Carolina is estimated at nearly $3.8 billion.