Duke Energy says ‘thanks’ through summer celebrations

Duke Energy’s nuclear station education centers and outreach programs continue to serve as a critical connection between the power plants and surrounding communities. Locals play a large role in the vitality of our business of providing safe, reliable energy to our customers, whether it’s supporting local health and human service agencies, working with our teams on emergency preparedness or the thousands of employees who live in our communities and work hard and safely every day. It is our job as good corporate citizens to engage with our communities in activities and opportunities that let them know we’re proud to be their nuclear neighbors.

As the summer winds down, we’d like to share the community events of the past season – and those coming up to round out the summer. We encourage you to visit our education centers year-round, and we hope you will attend one of the many annual events next summer!

Florida Nuclear

cr3_Jersey Day MontageCrystal River: In June, workers at the Crystal River Nuclear Plant in Florida showed their colors and their concern for the local community. As part of the plant’s Jersey Day event, workers sported their favorite team’s jersey and collected non-perishable food to benefit a local food bank, donating 75 pounds of food. Workers at the on-site café also wanted to participate, so they hosted a pet food drive, collecting 116 pounds of cat food and 171 pounds of dog food. Also in June, the United Way of Citrus County presented Duke Energy a Leadership Giving Award at an awards luncheon. In July, more than 300 people attended a Duke Energy open house in Florida. The proposed new natural gas plant in Citrus County was the main attraction, but workers from the Crystal River Nuclear Plant were also on hand to answer questions about the plant’s decommissioning plan. More information about the nuclear plant is available at duke-energy.com/CR3. Also in July, employees at the Crystal River Nuclear Plant volunteered their time and talent to serve as camera operators at a telethon benefiting the Key Training Center, a local nonprofit agency that helps adults with developmental disabilities. Nuclear plant workers have participated in this event for 25 years.

North Carolina Nuclear

A young guest enjoys the view while listening to the sounds of the Charlotte Symphony at McGuire Nuclear Station.

A young guest enjoys the view while listening to the sounds of the Charlotte Symphony at McGuire Nuclear Station.

McGuire: At McGuire Nuclear Station, one of the season’s biggest highlights year after year is the Charlotte Symphony concert. In June, nearly 10,000 locals gathered on the lawn of the station’s education center, the EnergyExplorium (Huntersville, N.C.), to listen to the concert. They also came by boat and enjoyed the sights and sounds on beautiful Lake Norman. Guests are always encouraged to bring picnic dinners to top off the evening of socializing and fantastic music.

Summer movies at McGuire are always popular for locals in the Huntersville, N.C. area.

Summer movies at McGuire are always popular for locals in the Huntersville, N.C. area.

McGuire’s EnergyExplorium also hosted two summer movie nights in July and August. 2,500 visitors spread blankets and chairs across the lawn to watch “Rio 2” and “Mr. Peabody and Sherman.”

Harris Nuclear Plant collected more than 350 backpacks filled with school supplies for area elementary schools.

Harris Nuclear Plant collected more than 350 backpacks filled with school supplies for area elementary schools.

Harris: Harris Nuclear Plant’s big summer event is coming up Sept. 6 – members of the surrounding communities are invited to come out to the ninth-annual Harris Community Day at the Energy and Environmental (E&E) Center in New Hill, N.C. There are plenty of fun-filled activities scheduled throughout the day, including learning about the benefits of nuclear power, bucket truck rides, simulator tours and more. Harris Nuclear Plant also recently held its annual Key Leader Breakfast, in which 45 elected officials and community leaders visited the E&E Center for breakfast and received a plant update from Site Vice President Ben Waldrep. To support the community, 120 Harris employees, families and friends participated in a North American Young Generation in Nuclear (NAYGN) golf tournament that earned more than $10,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Eastern Carolina. Employees also collected 350 book bags filled with school supplies for five area elementary schools. Additionally, teachers received $500 worth of cleaning supplies and teaching materials.

Brunswick Nuclear Plant employees clean up Southport's shoreline.

Brunswick Nuclear Plant employees clean up Southport’s shoreline.

Brunswick: Brunswick Nuclear Plant employees participated in a Southport Waterfront Litter Sweep in July, in which they collected trash and cleaned up debris along Southport’s waterfront. Duke Energy employees actively participate in environmentally sustainable community service projects such as litter sweeps along shorelines, roadways and more. Employees will also participate in a Schoolyard Habitat Build Day on Fri., Aug. 22.

South Carolina Nuclear

Engineers at Robinson Nuclear Plant speak to summer camp students at the S.C. Governor's School for Science and Mathematics.

Engineers at Robinson Nuclear Plant speak to summer camp students at the S.C. Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics.

Robinson: Throughout the summer, Robinson Nuclear Plant engineers visited the S.C. Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics in Hartsville, S.C. These engineers met with students attending summer camps at the school and spoke to them about nuclear energy and careers in the nuclear industry. Robinson employees also donated nearly 400 back packs filled with school supplies to 12 area elementary schools in Chesterfield, Darlington and Lee counties.

Catawba: Catawba Nuclear Station employees collected roughly 200 back packs this summer that were donated to area schools. In addition, the plant will host its United Way Kick-Off on Sept. 25, in which its car and bike show, karaoke and more will raise money for the local United Way organizations in York County and nearby locations.

The Critter Keeper kept many guests on the edge of their seats during a recent Wednesdays at the World of Energy summer event.

The Critter Keeper kept many guests on the edge of their seats during a recent Wednesdays at the World of Energy summer event.

Oconee: Oconee Nuclear Station’s World of Energy (education center) kicked off the summer with its first-ever “Wednesdays at the World of Energy.” This free, hour-long program every Wednesday in June and July featured fun activities for children under 12 years of age. Between 150 and 200 families participated in Mini-Science Camp Day and Critter Keeper Day. Other activities included Boating and Water Safety, a Fourth of July Talent Show and Picnic, Movie Day, Storytelling Day, Sing-A-Long Bird Songs and Crafts and more. The World of Energy also hosted its annual summer movie nights on Lake Keowee in June and August. More than 800 people gathered on Lake Keowee to watch “Frozen” and “The LEGO Movie.” Oconee also held a Realtors’ Breakfast and Community Leaders Breakfast, in which local realtors and key community leaders received an update from Site Vice President Scott Batson and toured the station.

Fishing is one of many activities available at the upcoming Hunting and Fishing Day at the World of Energy.

Fishing is one of many activities available at the upcoming Hunting and Fishing Day at the World of Energy.

The summer will go out with a bang on Sept. 20, when the World of Energy hosts its annual Hunting and Fishing Day, which attracts thousands of visitors to this free family outdoor adventure.  From 9 a.m. until 3 p.m., guests enjoy kayaking and fishing on Lake Keowee, archery, air rifle shooting, fly tying and casting, wildlife artifacts, camouflage hide-and-seek and more.

School’s out, but our education partnerships continue to grow

Even though school is out, the summer months are a great time for nuclear sites to connect with students and educators to build interest and develop positive attitudes and aspirations towards science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The nuclear industry depends on a qualified workforce to safely and reliably operate power plants. However, the nuclear industry is facing a workforce shortage as half of employees are eligible for retirement in the next 10 years and due to the lack of students entering STEM career fields. Establishing strategic partnerships is an important way to provide learning opportunities to ensure well-prepared students and teachers.

EducIMG_1964ational partnerships include programs focused on local schools, universities, summer camps, community organizations and more. These programs provide a valuable experience and may include plant tours, hands-on demonstrations for educators and students, and opportunities to speak with industry professionals.

Duke Energy’s nuclear sites have supported a number of programs this summer season. Harris Nuclear Plant near Raleigh, N.C. hosted an annual workshop for high school science teachers in conjunction with North Carolina State University. Teachers toured the site and learned about plant operations, radiation protection, emergHarrisency preparedness, material failure and analysis, as well as plant security. Rising sixth graders also attended a summer camp focused on energy and energy conservation, and students took part in a hands-on project led by a site engineer.

McGuire Nuclear Station in Huntersville, N.C. established new partnerships with North Carolina New Schools and Discovery Place. Both organizations offer a summer program for STEM educators to learn about career opportunities and how to better inspire students. The educators toured the plant, heard from a panel of speakers and participated in learning activities.

Oconee Nuclear Station in Pickens, S.C. participated in an “Invention Convention” where middle school students learned about nuclear energy and electricity at the site’s exhibit. Oconee is also working with Clemson University on a summer program aimed at introducing girls to careers in 4ResourceRanch04.2014science and technology.

Engineering and chemistry professionals from Robinson Nuclear Plant near Hartsville, S.C. spoke to students at several different summer camps hosted by a regional school specializing in science and math. Brunswick Nuclear Plant near Wilmington, N.C. was recognized by the local school district for its STEM education partnerships and programs including “STEM Speaks” which connects nuclear professionals with students to promote STEM disciplines.

In addition to specific programs, Duke Energy’s energy education centers hosted hundreds of summer camp students and educators.

Education partnerships are a valuable way for the nuclear industry to reach out to educators and engage students. Programs promote an interest in STEM fields, raise awareness about the industry and build goodwill with the community. Most importantly, education partnerships help the nuclear industry develop its future workforce.

Community leaders get inside look at Crystal River Nuclear Plant decommissioning

Don Taylor, 65, drove down the three mile access road and pulled into the visitor’s left lane at the Access Control Point – the first layer of security before coming onto plant property. A security officer cross-checked his driver’s license, looked for his name on the approved visitor’s list then searched his vehicle.

Taylor had traveled down that same access road thousands of times during the last decade. He knew exactly where to go and where to park. But this time was different. Taylor was coming to the Crystal River Nuclear Plant (CR3) not as a Duke Energy employee but as a participant in a special tour for local leaders.

Twelve elected officials and community leaders from Citrus and Levy counties visited CR3 for an inside look at decommissioning.

Twelve elected officials and community leaders from Citrus and Levy counties visited CR3 for an inside look at decommissioning.

Twelve elected officials and community leaders from Citrus and Levy counties joined Taylor for the four hour event, which included a presentation on CR3’s decommissioning plan, a walking tour of the plant and an informal question and answer session during lunch.

“The February 2013 decision to decommission CR3 was made after I retired,” said Taylor, who served Duke Energy for 35 years and worked as CR3’s financial manager between 1999 and 2012. “In my new role as Citrus County’s Economic Development Council director, I needed to understand the plant’s status and future plans. I was particularly concerned about job losses and wanted more details on the dry cask storage project.”

After processing through a second layer of security, similar to airport security, to get inside the plant’s perimeter, the group walked up a 30 foot berm, looked down and saw a grassy knoll where the new dry cask storage facility will be built by 2017.

All U.S. nuclear plants store used nuclear fuel at their site – either in fuel pools or dry casks – because the U.S. does not have a central federal repository for used nuclear fuel. CR3 has safely stored its used nuclear fuel in fuel pools since the plant’s first refueling in 1978.

05-22-14 Community Stakeholders Tour (4)During the tour, the group also saw the damaged concrete on the containment building, water tight doors that protect the plant during storms and equipment, such as turbine rotors, that may be re-sold. They visited the 1970s era, sea foam green colored control room and met operators focused on monitoring the used nuclear fuel, pools and related cooling systems.

“The tour was well organized and provided quality information and straight talk to hard questions,” Taylor said. “The up-close view of the containment building concrete damage was very helpful and put the containment issues in perspective. Visiting the control room and talking directly to operators was also beneficial.”

Will Bryant, an environmental health director for the Florida Department of Health in Citrus County, also enjoyed interacting with plant personnel.

“In my line of work, firsthand experience is priceless,” he said. “Duke’s personnel are top notch, and great care is placed on safety. I was most surprised by the condition of the plant. It’s remarkably clean and well kept.”

After the tour, participants completed a survey. The vast majority said the tour expanded their awareness and understanding of the decommissioning plan. They said plant staff was knowledgeable and answered questions completely and honestly. They also felt the plant would be decommissioned in a safe and cost-effective manner.

About CR3

  • After completing a comprehensive analysis of costs and risks, Duke Energy announced its decision to retire CR3 on Feb. 5, 2013, rather than pursue a first-of-its-kind repair to the plant’s containment building.
  • While replacing two 500-ton steam generators during a scheduled maintenance outage in 2009, engineers discovered a separation of concrete within the containment building that surrounds the reactor vessel. Though crews successfully repaired the concrete, they discovered additional damage in two other areas when working to return the unit to service in 2011.
  • CR3 operated between 1977 and 2009, producing on average 860 megawatts of generation. The plant is one of five units at the Crystal River Energy Complex located on Florida’s Gulf Coast approximately 85 miles north of Tampa. The other four units are coal-fired.

 Fast facts

  • Plant status: CR3 is in a safe, stable condition. The plant’s comprehensive emergency plans and full-time, around-the-clock security force remain in place.
  • Decommissioning plan: Duke Energy has selected the “SAFSTOR” decommissioning option, one of three options approved by the NRC and one chosen by several other retired U.S. nuclear plants. Under this option, the plant will remain in a safe, stable condition for 60 years until decommissioning work is completed in 2074. CR3 anticipates reaching its SAFSTOR condition by July 1, 2015.
  • Status of employees: About 230 employees remain on site as part of the decommissioning organization. Nearly 250 others have redeployed to other positions within Duke Energy. About 125 employees have left the company and were offered severance benefits. Over time, staffing at the site will become smaller.
  • Cost estimate: The estimated cost funded from the decommissioning trust is $1.18 billion (in 2013 dollars). With the SAFSTOR option, Duke Energy believes the nuclear decommissioning trust fund, including future growth of the fund and funds from our nine other owners, will be sufficient to decommission the plant without increasing customer rates. However, annual analysis will be required.
  • Near-term activities: Workers are preparing the containment building for long-term inactivity, removing systems no longer needed from service, constructing or reconfiguring other systems, continuing work to receive NRC approvals to transition CR3 from an operating plant to a decommissioning one and starting construction of a dry cask storage facility.

For more information about CR3, go to www.duke-energy.com/CR3. For more information on decommissioning nuclear plants, visit the NRC website, www.nrc.gov.