Duke Energy’s WINning Chapter

WIN descriptionOutstanding efforts deserve recognition, and Duke Energy’s Women in Nuclear (WIN) Central Chapter got just that this summer at the 2014 U.S. Women in Nuclear National Conference.

In July, 45 Duke Energy WIN members made their way to Boston to accept two national awards for the company’s Central Chapter, which includes members from Brunswick, Robinson and Oconee nuclear stations. This chapter was honored with the “Overall Excellence” and “Excellence in Public Outreach” awards based on the impressive accomplishments the chapter’s 70 members completed in the past year, which included:

  • 2,549 hours of public outreach, reaching 4,899 people
  • 2,032 hours of professional development for 200 people
  • 1,264 hours of networking with 360 members
Duke Energy’s WIN Central Chapter received two awards at the 2014 WIN national conference.

Duke Energy’s WIN Central Chapter received two awards at the 2014 WIN national conference.

Some examples of the chapter’s public outreach activities include:

  • Participating in National Nuclear Science Week by teaching elementary students about basic electricity and nuclear power with hands-on activities and teaching high school students about nuclear careers
  • Showing Pandora’s Promise, a documentary film about the history and future of nuclear power, to high school students
  • Participating in Career Day, sharing information on becoming a nuclear professional to 150 middle school students
  • Teaching 127 homeschool students about electricity, nuclear energy, radiation dress out and how to make rockets at Oconee Nuclear Station’s World of Energy Homeschooler’s Day
  • Partnering with the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) and the public library to hold Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Days with hands-on activities
  • Science fair judging
  • Participating in pen pal programs with students
  • Teacher education with American Nuclear Society at UNCW
  • Robotics team sponsorship and demonstrations; STEM speaks to high school students
  • Mentorship of Clemson Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) – Girl Scout badges
  • Myth busting with Southport Junior Women’s Club

“We primarily concentrated on STEM activities with a nuclear power or electricity focus for K-12 students,” said Melanie Roberts, Duke Energy Central Chapter member from Brunswick. While WIN provides outreach activities year round, a major focus occurs during National Nuclear Science Week, which is held October 20-24 this year.

WIN members from Oconee Nuclear Station teach Girl Scouts about energy during last year’s National Nuclear Science Week.

WIN members from Oconee Nuclear Station teach Girl Scouts about energy during last year’s National Nuclear Science Week.

Duke Energy’s other active WIN chapters – the Piedmont Chapter, including members from the Charlotte corporate office and McGuire, Harris and Catawba nuclear stations, and the Gulf Chapter, including members from Crystal River 3 – also regularly interact with the community, promoting nuclear power as a viable, safe, green power source, as well as a stimulating and rewarding career opportunity.

WIN members from the Brunswick Nuclear Plant held a STEM Fair with hands-on learning activities for 72 second grade students at Bolivia Elementary during National Nuclear Science Week last year.

WIN members from the Brunswick Nuclear Plant held a STEM Fair with hands-on learning activities for 72 second grade students at Bolivia Elementary during National Nuclear Science Week last year.

Throughout the year, Duke Energy’s WIN chapters also offer its members networking activities, such as plant tours, fitness and wellness walks with other utility WIN chapters, and professional development activities like seminars, regional and national conferences, webinars, lunch and learns, and financial planning sessions.

Congratulations to Duke Energy’s Central Chapter, and thank you to all who continue to share the benefits of nuclear energy with the public.

Industries rely on nuclear power

Electricity isn’t just used for flipping the lights on in your house, charging your newest smart phone or heating your home on a cold night. Electricity is critical to the operation of key industries such as manufacturing, food production, agriculture and computer products—industries that together form the foundation of the American economy.

The industrial sector in the United States consumes more energy than in any other country.  The chemical industry is the largest consumer of electricity in the United States. Chemical companies need the power of 17 large power plants annually to make chemicals used in agriculture, medicines and more.  In one year, the computer and electronics industry alone can consume the amount of electricity generated from four nuclear  power plants.  (Nuclear’s Reliability Vital for Industrial Users, NEI, August 2014)

US. Energy Information AdministrationSo how does nuclear power fit into the growing electricity needs of the industrial sector? Reliability of electricity is important to avoid interruptions of power that can halt the production of goods, damage equipment and result in economic losses.

The average nuclear energy facility produces power 90 percent of the time, providing large amounts of electricity around the clock. Nuclear power is not affected by changing weather and climate conditions or fluctuating fuel prices, allowing for reliable and low-cost electricity.

Industrial energy consumption is expected to grow an average of 1.4 percent each year through 2040. Nuclear power plants have the ability to meet this growing demand and power the industries that drive US and global economies.

Read more about global energy consumption from the U.S. Energy Information Administration and the unmatched reliability of nuclear power from the Nuclear Energy Institute.

Nuclear energy’s future is green

The Nuclear Energy Institute, a pro-nuclear power organization, recently launched a Future of Energy campaign. The purpose of this campaign is to promote the positive attributes of nuclear energy, including its crucial role in America’s diverse energy portfolio, and to highlight the work and experience of nuclear professionals.  

One aspect of the campaign is environmentally friendly nature of nuclear energy. While there are numerous advantages to nuclear energy, its role as the nation’s largest clean-air source of energy is arguably the most important.  

Nuclear energy leaves a small footprint.  While producing 20 percent of the nation’s energy, nuclear energy produces no carbon emissions. The U.S. Department of Energy and Energy Information Administration call nuclear “the single most effective emission control strategy for utilities…

The improvement to the environment is real and measurable.  It’s estimated that the use of nuclear energy facilities avoided approximately 590 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2013. This is the equivalent of the carbon dioxide released from 113 million cars. This is one reason why the US has been able to achieve its targets under the Kyoto Protocol.

It’s not just carbon dioxide. Nuclear energy also offsets about one million tons of sulfur dioxide from reaching the atmosphere in the United States each year. This reflects the amount released by 25 million cars. While nuclear energy isn’t allocated sulfur dioxide credits under the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendment, if it were, its estimated the credits would be worth an estimated $50 million.

The environmentally friendly aspect of nuclear is just one of the many reasons the industry remains poised to be a safe, efficient and reliable form of energy generation for years to come.