NAYGN “Community Service Week” starts a tradition

Whether it’s cleaning local parks, clearing heavily traveled roads of debris or landscaping the yard of an elderly women, Duke Energy’s North American Young Generation in Nuclear (NAYGN) chapters have started a new tradition!

Approximately 75 NAYGN members headed out to communities near the company’s nuclear sites in North and South Carolina to lend a helping hand during “Community Service Week.” The stories below provide a snapshot of all the work completed throughout the week.

Carolina Beach State Park Cleanup – NAYGN members from Brunswick Nuclear Plant (Southport, N.C.) set out to Carolina Beach State Park to help remove debris and glass. A portion of the land that the park now sits on was once home to the old Town of Carolina Beach landfill; and while the landfill no longer exists, thousands of glass pieces and old bottles still remain.

When it was all said and done, two large trash cans were filled with debris and removed from the park.

Brookshire Freeway Cleanup – Charlotte’s Brookshire Freeway received a facelift after members cleared the busy freeway of debris in July. Donning orange vests, NAYGN members from the Duke Energy’s corporate office and McGuire Nuclear Station in Huntersville, N.C., walked up and down the freeway (1.5 miles in each direction) on a scorching summer day removing trash.

Concord Road Cleanup – Hundreds of vehicles travel up and down Concord Road in York, S.C., daily as it leads to the main entrance of Catawba Nuclear Station. Aesthetically, the road needed some “TLC,” so NAYGN members spent the afternoon collecting trash from the side of the road.

Keep Oconee Beautiful “Adopt-A-Spot” – Similar to Catawba, NAYGN members from Oconee Nuclear Station partnered with Keep Oconee Beautiful Association “Adopt-A-Spot” to clear trash from two miles of roadways near the entrance of the site. Volunteers spent two hours clearing debris from the roadside and collected 18 full bags of trash.

Cooper Black State Park Project – H. Cooper Black State Park received a mini makeover as NAYGN members from Robinson Nuclear Plant (Hartsville, S.C.) helped park rangers paint and caulk the facility’s clubhouse and restroom. H. Cooper Black is a dog and horse park in Cheraw, S.C., with more than 7,000 acres of land. The park sees lots of faces throughout the year and is home to several sporting and bird dog competitions. The extra hands were a tremendous help as park rangers could not have finished the project on their own until the following summer.

Habitat for Humanity – NAYGN members and summer interns volunteered for Habitat for Humanity project in Apex, N.C.  The group worked to clean and landscape the yard of an elderly woman’s home, as well as replace a broken front door.

A day in the life of a Nuclear Industrial Safety Professional – Part two

Welcome back to the rest of the story about Duke Energy’s commitment to health and safety of employees and a look into health and safety work activities at a nuclear plant.

 One of the benefits discussed about working in the health and safety field at Duke Energy are the many opportunities for continuing education and training throughout your career. Duke Energy promotes continuous learning and supports employees who want to attend industrial safety conferences and training sessions to maintain their qualifications and learn new industry safety standards.

 In the nuclear industry, there is no typical day in the health and safety profession. A day could start with a member of the safety team attending management meetings to gather information on an investigation related to a safety incident or a new program. Safety professionals may also attend various Pre-job Brief (PJB) meetings with teams as they prepare to perform work to ensure they practice safe work behaviors with every job. They also examine internal and external areas of the plant to ensure walkways are safe and clear of trip and fall hazards. Brunswick’s health and safety team continuously conduct job safety analyses (JSAs) which includes reviewing and walking down identified potential safety hazards for each job at the plant site.

Ted Smith, Lead Safety Professional at Brunswick Nuclear Plant, verifies correct operation of heat stress monitors to ensure worker safety in hot environments.

Ted Smith, Lead Safety Professional at Brunswick Nuclear Plant, verifies correct operation of heat stress monitors to ensure worker safety in hot environments.

The health and safety team also creates safety presentations to share with employees that show proper work methods or job hazards to raise awareness. Team members conduct regular field observations of teams from various departments performing day-to-day tasks in the plant. Safety is an important part of every department and team at a nuclear station.

 Ted, Mike and Donald said it is amazing how far the health and safety industry has grown and matured over the years. The progression in allowable events has diminished greatly. Actions that were once allowed, even as normal practice years ago, are not allowed today. Ted, Mike and Donald say they are extremely proud to work for Duke Energy, a company that takes care of its employees and promotes working safely on every task and every day. Ted went on to say, “Duke really cares about their people and constantly monitors work to make sure employees are safe and everyone goes home safely.”

 The team offered some parting advice for anyone looking at a career in industrial health and safety. While it is a growing field and demand is stable with many organizations in need of a safety department, it takes a lot of passion for people to perform the job well. A health and safety professional must take some ownership for safety related events that may occur and work to correct behaviors or workplace surroundings that may have caused the event. A person has to have a passion for the job and for helping other people. As a mentor from Mike’s past once said, “It’s not a job, it’s a calling.”

safety first

Powerful Career Paths in the Nuclear Industry

Did you know the U.S. nuclear energy industry supports approximately 100,000 quality, high-paying American jobs?

And, did you know the majority of workers employed by the nuclear energy industry are non-nuclear engineers?

There are job opportunities across the country for folks with high school diplomas to those with doctorates. Nuclear utilities and other nuclear companies employ all types of workers to support their operations – from computer engineers and plant operators to pipefitters and accountants.

Types of Careers in the Nuclear Energy Industry

Engineers Specialists Technicians and Skilled Trades Workers
Civil/structural Accountants Carpenters
Electrical Analysts Construction trades and related workers
Materials Business management experts Electricians
Mechanical Chemists Engineering technicians
Nuclear Document control experts Heavy equipment operators
Computer Health physicists Machinists
Instrumentation and control Information technology experts Maintenance technicians
Fire protection Occupational safety, including radiation safety experts Millwrights
Systems Plant operators (licensed and non-licensed) Pipefitters
Project management Statistics/probabilistic risk assessment experts Science technicians
  Training specialists Security officers
  Communication specialists Welders

Of the 100,000 currently employed in the industry, it is expected as many as 20,000 new, highly skilled workers will be needed in the next five years to operate and maintain existing reactors. Several factors are driving this need, including:

  • New nuclear plants (one reactor creates up to 3,500 jobs at peak construction, and a new nuclear facility creates about 500 permanent jobs per 1,000 megawatts of electricity generating capacity – compared to 50 for a wind farm and 50 for a natural gas plant)
  • License renewal (73 of the nation’s 100 nuclear reactors have renewed their operating licenses and will continue producing electricity for decades)
  • Retirements among existing workforce (about half of the industry’s workforce will be eligible to retire over the next 10 years)

To meet this need, recruiting the next generation of workers is a major focus for the U.S. nuclear energy industry. Through the Nuclear Uniform Curriculum Program, the industry partners with more than 30 community colleges to recruit and train students in a standardized way for employment at nuclear facilities. The industry also focuses recruitment on students from universities, labor apprenticeships and U.S. military personnel – especially graduates of the U.S. Navy’s nuclear propulsion program – to fill specialized positions.

For more information on careers in the nuclear energy industry, refer to the following links: