Helping for the holidays

Bike, doll, books, games, toys …

This may look like the typical wish list for any kid during the holidays but for hundreds of children and families, this wish list would be just a dream without the generosity of employees at Duke Energy’s nuclear power plants.

Hundreds of bikes, toys, games and shoes, along with needed clothing and food were donated this year to help spread a little holiday cheer. More than 1,000 children received gifts, all donated by workers at Duke’s seven nuclear plants.

Take a look at how employees in North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida shared the holiday spirit in their local communities:

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Employees at the Robinson Nuclear Plant in Hartsville, S.C., purchased more than 150 items as part of their Giving Tree drive and donated more than 1,000 boxes of cereal and macaroni and cheese to the C150arolina Kids Hunger Buster program.

At the Oconee Nuclear Station near Seneca, S.C., another 250 children had their wishes fulfilled when employees collected almost $30,000 worth of toys for the Angel Tree program.

Catawba Nuclear Station employees loaded a large truck with bikes, clothes and toys for 20 foster children with the York County Department of Social Services. An additional 150 toys and more than $1,000 were collected for Toys for Happiness.

The giving continued in Florida where employees of the Crystal River Nuclear Plant teamed up with their fossil unit teammates at the Crystal River Energy Complex for the Holiday Hope program. They delivered a truckload of toys and other gifts to the Citrus County Family Resource Center, reaching 185 children ranging from newborn to 18 years. They didn’t stop there, donating nearly 200 pounds of food to the Daystar Life Center, a local nonprofit food bank.

In North Carolina, employees of the McGuire Nuclear Station, near Charlotte, donated 160 bikes and hundreds of toys during their annual Toys for Tots drive. Nearly 100 coats were given to the Crisis Assistance Ministry, to be distributed to men, women and children through the organization’s “Free Store.”

At the Brunswick Nuclear Plant, near Southport, N.C., employees presented Brunwick County Toys for Tots with more than 100 toys and more than $3,600 in donations. Members of the plant’s security team also supported Toys for Tots by participating in Toy Rides in nearby Wilmington and Shalotte.

For the 13th straight year, employees of the Harris Nuclear Plant, near New Hill, N.C., identified and fulfilled the wish lists of 10 families from the nearby Moncure School, ranging from basic necessities like clothing, shoes and jackets, to popular toys, music, bikes and games.

Giving and sharing the spirit of the holidays is a tradition that has been honored at Duke’s nuclear power plants for years and will continue for many to come.

Retiring Crystal River Nuclear Plant meets major milestone, submits decommissioning plan

Crystal RiverDuke Energy has submitted its decommissioning plan for the Crystal River Nuclear Plant, known as CR3, in Florida to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). The plan, called the Post-Shutdown Decommissioning Activities Report (PSDAR), includes a decommissioning description, cost estimate and schedule. It also includes a management strategy for storing used nuclear fuel on site. 

“Decommissioning the Crystal River Nuclear Plant will be a well-defined process with significant NRC oversight,” said Crystal River Decommissioning Director Terry Hobbs. “Nuclear safety will remain our top priority. The plant will remain in a safe, stable condition, and our comprehensive emergency plan and 24/7 security force will remain in place.”

 Decommissioning plan highlights:

  • 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. With this option, the plant will be placed in a safe, stable condition for 60 years until decommissioning work is completed in 2074.
  • The estimated decommissioning cost is $1.18 billion in today’s (2013) dollars. Duke Energy believes the company’s existing nuclear decommissioning trust fund, including future growth of the fund and funds from the plant’s nine other owners, will be sufficient to decommission the plant.
  • Radiological and environmental monitoring will continue during the decommissioning process to ensure safety and environmental protection.
  • The plant’s used nuclear fuel will remain in the existing on-site fuel pool until a new, on-site, dry-cask storage facility is built. The plant has safely stored its used fuel on site for 35 years, since the facility’s first refueling in 1978. All U.S. nuclear plants store used fuel on site – either in fuel pools or dry casks – because the U.S. does not have a central federal repository for used nuclear fuel.

Filing the decommissioning plan with the NRC prompts two main activities. First, within 60 days, the NRC will hold a public meeting to discuss the decommissioning plan and their oversight process. And second, within 90 days, the plant may begin major decommissioning activities and access 100 percent of the decommissioning fund.

To serve as an information resource for the public, the nuclear plant has launched a decommissioning website,

Duke Energy Inspires Young Minds during National Nuclear Science Week

NNSW_final_logoLast week, dozens of nuclear professionals across Duke Energy’s nuclear fleet met with hundreds of students to give them a lesson on nuclear power as part of National Nuclear Science Week. Teammates flocked to local schools while others welcomed homeschoolers to their site’s energy education centers where outreach efforts ranged from interactive presentations and hands-on activities to essay and drawing contests. Several of the events were orchestrated by the site’s North American Young Generation in Nuclear (NA-YGN) and Women in Nuclear (WIN) groups.

Curious to know what went on during National Nuclear Science Week? Below are some key outreach efforts held during the week-long celebration:

  • Crystal River Nuclear Plant: More than a dozen Crystal River employees – equipped with infrared cameras and protective clothing used at the plant – participated in five educational events at local Boys and Girls Clubs and middle schools. In all, the CR3 team gave 16 presentations, teaching more than 400 students the importance of nuclear generation as an environmentally friendly source of power.
  • Brunswick Nuclear Plant: Brunswick’s nuclear teammates hit the ground running last week and met with nearly 25 schools in the area. They helped spark awareness about nuclear science and careers by leading a poster contest depicting “why nuclear power is cool” and invited robotics teams from local high schools to view the robots used at the power plant.
  • McGuire Nuclear Station: Nearly 120 homeschoolers flocked to the EnergyExplorium, the site’s energy education center. The students were first introduced to nuclear power by listening to a brief presentation, then students applied what they learned by participating in a series of five hands-on activities which included a demonstration on half-life vs. radioactive decay using M&Ms and a game of 20 questions.
  • RoddyHarris Nuclear Plant: Teammates partnered with local schools and held a “Roddy Nuclear” drawing contest – the NA-YGN mascot used to promote National Nuclear Science Week. “Roddy” resembles a uranium fuel pellet – the energy source for nuclear power plants. Duke Energy also sponsored the N.C. State American Nuclear Society chapter meeting, providing speakers for a question and answer panel with university students. 
  • Oconee Nuclear Station: In addition to promoting the drawing contest at a local school, the World of Energy, Oconee’s energy education center, held its Fall for Energy homeschool day. Students were able to participate in nuclear dress out exercises and learn how electricity is made.

National Nuclear Science Week is just one of many events the nuclear fleet hosts each year. Through partnerships with WIN and YGN, as well as programs held throughout the fleet’s three energy education centers, Duke Energy has reached thousands of students and teachers each year through an extensive public education and engagement program.

National Nuclear Science Week is an annual celebration organized to draw attention to all aspects of nuclear science and the vital role it plays in the lives of Americans, as well as encourage education and awareness of new nuclear technologies and careers within the industry. Interested in learning more about National Nuclear Science Week, click here.