Annual national celebration places focus on nuclear science, careers and education

NSW-logoLast week, Duke Energy hosted a series of local events in communities around the company’s six nuclear plants. More than 125 nuclear professionals across the company’s nuclear fleet met with hundreds of students to give them a lesson on nuclear power as part of National Nuclear Science Week – a national, broadly observed week-long celebration to focus local, regional and national interests on all aspects of nuclear science.

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. 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:

  • Brunswick Nuclear Plant:Brunswick’s nuclear teammates hit the ground running last week by hosting a National Nuclear Science Week fair at six local schools. Nearly 85 volunteers met with more than 2,000 students to help spark awareness about nuclear science. Students were able to spend about 30 minutes visiting different stations including a robotics demonstration, learning about the anatomy of an atom and participating in a “nuclear dance” as a way of learning how a boiling water reactor works.
  • McGuire Nuclear Station: 80 Boy Scouts visited the EnergyExplorium, McGuire’s education center, to earn their nuclear science merit badge. Scouts were able to see and touch models of a turbine, generator and fuel assembly as they learned about nuclear power.A nuclear science day was also planned for nearly 125 homeschool students. Members of Duke Energy’s NA-YGN partnered with the American Nuclear Society and led a presentation focusing on nuclear power; a participated on a career panel answering questions about their background, skills and education. Students also participated in hands-on, interactive activities including a demonstration on radioactive half-life using M&Ms.
  • Harris Nuclear Plant:Students from a local college were led on a site driving tour, while a group of realtors participated in a lunch and learn at the site’s energy education center hosted by WIN. A member of Harris’ WIN group also visited a local school and met with middle schools science teachers and female students to lead a nuclear science program.
  • Catawba Nuclear Station: The site welcomed nearly 100 members of the homeschool community for a nuclear science day. Students participated in five sessions during the event, including a nuclear dress out activity. Families also learned about half-life and radiation decay, the various types of careers at a nuclear plant, how the plant makes electricity and participated in nuclear trivia. 24 volunteers from Catawba helped to make the event a huge success.
  • Robinson Nuclear Station: Robinson teammates gave 12 presentations to five local schools. Approximately 607 students were able to learn more about nuclear energy, nuclear careers and the success paths Robinson employees took to get where they are now.
  • Oconee Nuclear Station: Teammates from Oconee participated in the “Bite of Science” at Clemson University, a workshop designed to improve teacher’s ability to provide students a context of how science is applied in the real world and inspire students to pursue careers of excellence and leadership in STEM. The World of Energy, Oconee’s energy education center, offered a tour of the site’s control room simulator to 55 students from Furman University, hosted a homeschool day and delivered six presentations to local high school and elementary school students.

Duke Energy places a year-round focus on education at all of its nuclear plants across North and South Carolina. The company reaches thousands of students and teachers each year through an extensive public education and community outreach program.

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.

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.