NAYGN Takes Advocacy to Ohio Statehouse

Connor Russell wears a lot of hats. You might know him as the Davis-Besse NAYGN Chapter President, an avid tennis player and coach, a civil design engineer, or as the soon-to-be-husband to his fiancée Ashley, who is currently in medical school.  But this month his most important hat may have been his hardhat.

When FirstEnergy announced it planned to close Ohio’s Davis-Besse and Perry plants in the next 3 years, Connor and about a dozen other nuclear workers donned hardhats and headed to Ohio Statehouse in Columbus.  On their hardhats were stickers that said, “SAVE MY JOB.”

“As someone that grew up in the area right down the street from where Thomas Edison was born, it’s an amazing opportunity to work at Davis-Besse,” Connor explains. “Working in a rural area where not many other opportunities exist allows me to do something I enjoy, and make a good living near home.  With the plants' future in jeopardy, this is at stake.”

Connor’s message at the Statehouse, in the presence of Ohio Gov. John Kasich, was a peaceful protest to show the value these plants bring to the community.  The two nuclear power plants generate 90 percent of the state’s carbon-free electricity and 12 percent of the total electricity.  The operation of Davis-Besse generates $805 million of annual economic output in Ottawa County alone and another $289 million in the rest of Ohio for a total of approximately $1.1 billion.

“As a nuclear professional in today’s world it is becoming more important to advocate for nuclear power effectively,” adds Connor. “As society is changing and becoming more environmentally conscious it is important for our generation to combat the negative stereotypes surrounding nuclear power.”

Connor embodies some of the very best qualities NAYGN offers this industry. Feel free to share your support of his chapter’s efforts by sending him an e-mail.

Photo Credit: Andy Chow