After being awarded “Best Chapter in the West by NAYGN in 2012, the 2013 Palo Verde Young Generation in Nuclear (PV-YGN) group set out to continue the successes of the chapter. Several goals were developed in early 2013, and the combination of dedicated officers with committed members created a year full of achievements.
PV-YGN membership rose from 134 to 280 with 189 of those members being actively engaged. This increase in participation made hours contributed to activities and events more than double from 1,743 hours in 2012 to 3,567 hours in 2013. The most notable difference in time commitment was toward community outreach, where hours jumped from 87 in 2012 to 532 in 2013. Many popular events were held that encouraged this high participation turnout by members.
For example, on several occasions PV-YGN invited Boy Scout troops to Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station to earn a nuclear merit science badge. In addition to a nuclear power presentation and plant tour, the scouts were taken through Radiological Protection dress out training. In total, 102 Boy Scouts received a nuclear merit science badge in 2013.
PV-YGN also visited seven local elementary schools to teach students about nuclear power and its impact on the community. A nuclear science presentation was given followed by demonstrations such as the mouse trap reactor model built by one of PV-YGN’s members. Students were then asked to participate in the NAYGN drawing contest.
The PV-YGN officer group also offered members as many professional development opportunities as possible. As a result, hours in professional development increased from less than 1,000 in 2012 to over 2,000 in 2013. A favorite among PV-YGN members was the opportunity to learn about the different aspects of the parent company, Arizona Public Services (APS), through plant tours. Redhawk, a combined cycle gas plant owned and operated by APS is just one example. In order to place more focus on knowledge transfer and retention, PV-YGN joined forces with another employee engagement group, Women in Search of Excellence (WISE), and started a mentoring program at Palo Verde. This allowed PV-YGN members to build relationships with leaders around the site and improve their own leadership skills.
It wasn’t all work and no play for PV-YGN in 2013 though. Members attended several team building activities that encouraged development of relationships outside of the workplace. Many memories were made at the spring training baseball game, Phoenix Suns basketball game, Castles and Coasters amusement park, and floating down the Salt River. The group also had the chance to enjoy the cooler weather in Flagstaff, Arizona playing in a company softball tournament.
Teaming up with another Palo Verde employee engagement group, Craftsmanship Committee, established the plant’s first ever 3-on-3 basketball tournament. The overwhelming participation and positive feedback from employees convinced plant senior management that the 3-on-3 basketball tournament should continue on a yearly basis.
Overall, these events plus many others made 2013 more successful than PV-YGN officers imagined. During her visit to Palo Verde, Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Commissioner, Kristine Svinicki, was impressed by PV-YGN’s community involvement and stated, “engagement is the key to high performance, [and we should all be] ambassadors of nuclear energy to family and friends.”