The Carolinas region participated in NAYGN’s first ever cross-regional event to promote networking for nearby regions and it was a great success! NAYGN members travelled from around the Carolinas to Knoxville, TN, where many stayed the night before the event to explore the town. On Friday, participants met at Watts Bar Nuclear Station’s learning center for a safety brief with an overview of the company and Unit 2, which became the first new nuclear to connect to the grid in over 20 years. Everyone was given a tour of the new unit with an experienced TVA employee, where we had the opportunity to ask questions about the completing an unfinished reactor 20 years later than anticipated and current operations in the field. We returned to the learning center where all members were treated to lunch.

Participants then travelled to Oak Ridge, TN, where we boarded a charter bus for our visit to Oak Ridge National Laboratory. We met our tour guide, who provided us history of the site as well as lead us to our three stops: the High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR), the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS), and the Graphite Reactor. We were met by current employees at both HFIR and SNS, who explained the research they were involved in or their function at the facility, and gave the group a tour, where we could all take pictures and ask questions. We also learned about the history of the Graphite reactor and its involvement in the Manhattan Project.

Our final activity of the day was a dinner social at Blackhorse Brewpub, where members could enjoy some good food, networking, and a tour of the brewery if they were so inclined! This event was a first for the Carolinas, allowing us to interact with the nearby Southeast region at TVA Watts Bar for a fun and informative event. We look forward to future cross-regional events in the future and encourage other regions to pursue events with their regional neighbors! 

Written by: Courtney Tampas, NAYGN Carolinas Region

[Top to Bottom] NAYGNers pose in front of turbine blades; ORNL’s High Flux Isotope Reactor; TVA’s Watts Bar Nuclear Station.

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