Local Chapter Highlights

NAYGN hosts Nuclear Science Week “Big Event” in Wilmington, NC, GE-Hitachi chapter with Wilmington ANS section

The 2016 Nuclear Science Week Big Event, held October 20-22, was huge success! The event was hosted by the Wilmington Section of the American Nuclear Society, in collaboration with GE Hitachi NAYGN, and took place at the UNCW Watson College of Education.

Activities kicked-off Thursday morning with K-8 student workshops. Over 400 students participated in a variety of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) activities including building snap circuits, and learning how a power plant works through the nuclear dance. A dedicated teacher in Topsail even went the extra mile to get her students involved. Her school was affected by the recent hurricane and her classroom was still uninhabitable. She heard about our program one day in advance, well past the registration deadline, but she did not let that stop her. She contacted us and we can now report that her students have gotten to know nuclear.

Concurrent with the student workshops, site tours were held at the Duke Energy Progress Brunswick Nuclear Power Plant and the GE Hitachi Nuclear Fuel Plant. Over 100 members of the public joined the tours to learn about the nuclear facilities in their neighborhood. One tour participant has operated a farm across the street from the GE Hitachi site for over 30 years and was thrilled to finally learn about his neighboring business.

Friday included a flurry of activities with the opening of the Tech Expo, all-day Panel Sessions, and movie screenings at night. Anchor exhibitors at the Tech Expo included Duke Energy Progress, GE Hitachi, and URENCO. Other exhibitors were Women in Nuclear (WIN), US Navy, UNCW, the EPA and many more. GE Hitachi’s and URENCO’s booths were popular stops with interactive displays and virtual reality!

Friday’s panel topics ranged in nuclear technology from space and healthcare to clean nuclear power and nuclear jobs. Speakers included Chris Hersman, Mission Systems Engineer for NASA’s New Horizons mission, Ryan Fitzpatrick of the think tank Third Way, Maria Korsnick, Chief Operating Officer and President- and CEO-Elect of NEI, and the energetically positive Dr. Samantha Hedrick from the Provision Center for Proton Therapy (pun intended). The final session included GEH’s own Glen Watford of which the audience was mainly composed of Cape Fear Community College and UNCW students. Over 320 community members attended the panel sessions, with high school students accounting for 75% of the attendance. An additional 250 high school students viewed the sessions through a live-streaming feed online. We even had a mother and daughter drive five hours from Charlotte, North Carolina to attend.

Friday closed out with pizza and a movie. Adults and teens viewed Pandora’s Promise, which was followed by a Q&A session with Gwyneth Cravens, who is featured in the movie, and Jay Wileman, President and CEO of GE Hitachi. Younger children watched A is for Atom and participated in activities and a nuclear drawing contest.

The Big Event wrapped up on Saturday with a science teacher workshop and Boy and Girl Scout merit badges. Seven teacher attended the workshop and 84 scouts earned a badge. In addition to the teachers and scouts, another 130-people visited the Tech Expo on Saturday. The expo visitors were particularly excited to see and learn about PRISM and at least one mother was convinced that her son should consider designing control rod drives.

This year’s Nuclear Science Week Big Event had over 1,500 participants. The 3-day event was hugely successful in engaging the public and educating them on all the benefits and contributions that the nuclear sciences and technologies have in our society.

Events like these are important for professionals to participate in and give back to the community. Almost everyone has been positively affected by nuclear technology from lifesaving medical imaging to the clean air we breathe due to the largest source of clean energy, nuclear power. Nuclear science has immense benefits for society and it is our duty to communicate the value of nuclear technology.

Watch panel sessions from the 2016 Big Event here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCeuzQvFeyNR0rMPqsT4zp9A?app=desktop

Media Coverage of the Event:

Greater Wilmington Business Journal, Oct. 19: Going Nuclear for a Few Days in Wilmington

WWAY, Oct. 20: Nuclear Science Week Big Event Happening at UNCW

TWC News, Oct. 25: UNCW Hosts National Nuclear Science Week ‘Big Event’


NAYGN volunteers at Wrightsboro Elementary Career Day, GE-Hitachi Chapter

On Friday, April 1st, Wrightsboro Elementary, in Wilmington, NC, held a Career Day for their fourth and fifth grade students. Along with various other Wilmington companies, GE Hitachi NAYGN volunteers hosted a booth describing STEM careers at GE Hitachi. For these young students, career day was an opportunity to practice how to greet people, introduce oneself, shake hands, be polite, and say thank you. Volunteers also got the opportunity to teach the students about nuclear energy. Below, Scott Pfeffer is teaching students about how radiation is everywhere through an interactive demonstration using the Geiger counter while Doug Kondrack explains to students how much energy a single nuclear fuel pellet can hold! Thank you to all of the volunteers!


Fourth-grade Students Get Energized, AREVA Charlotte Chapter

On Tuesday, May 26, eight AREVA Charlotte NAYGN volunteers visited Carl A. Furr Elementary School to teach more than 100 fourth-grade students about energy and engineering during two, one-hour sessions.

The sessions included a presentation and interactive modules designed to teach students about potential and kinetic energy. At the end of each session, students left with a working helicopter toy, made from a popsicle stick, paper, rubber band, paper clip, and propeller, and AREVA’s “Journey to Nuclear Energy’s Core” booklet for elementary students.

NAYGN is committed to supporting Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education outreach to ensure the growth of the nation’s engineering talent pipeline.  Thank you to the volunteers for organizing and participating in this outreach event.


EPRI Tour, VC Summer Chapter

On April 24th, members from Duke Energy, Westinghouse, CB&I, and SCANA attended a tour of EPRI at the Charlotte location. The event was originally organized for members of the VC Summer Chapter in coordination with EPRI for profession development but was expanded to area members to foster networking and regional growth.

The visit started with presentations from Neil Wilmshurst, EPRI VP and CNO; Steve Swilley, Director of Non-Destructive Examination (NDE); and Ken Canavan Director of Plant Technology followed by tours of the steam generator eddy current, the NDE, and the Guided-Wave Imaging labs.

Following the visit to EPRI, attendees were then invited to a regional social held at VBGB’s with food, music and games.


Adopt a Stream, AREVA Chapter

If you have recently taken a drive down Kenilworth Avenue in Charlotte, North Carolina near the Metropolitan (toward the Dilworth neighborhood), you may have noticed a new sign along the way. Following two stream clean-ups along Little Sugar Creek Tributary #3 in 2014, the AREVA Charlotte NAYGN Chapter has earned a road sign recognizing their efforts to keep the Queen City storm water system clean and beautiful.

areva stream cleanup

Introduce a Girl to Engineering- Job Shadowning Day, Duke Energy Chapter

In March, Duke Energy NAYGN invited 10 girls from Bradley Middle School in Huntersville, NC to job shadow nuclear workers.  These young women were chosen based on interest expressed in an essay contest.  All 10 were very enthusiastic, and NAYGN was happy to host the eager students.

The girls were divided into groups of two with schedules that provide them four, 20-minute job shadowing sessions with an engineer.  The engineers represented a variety of nuclear work areas, including new plant design, core design, emergency procedures, plant support, grid technology, Fukushima modifications and IT.

Of course, no outreach program is complete without a hands-on activity.  The afternoon was dedicated to a Play-Doh/electric circuit activity led by Project Scientist, a non-profit organization.  The goal of the activity was to demonstrate the work of an engineer, with a secondary goal to emphasize how science can be fun.

Volunteers had the opportunity to talk with the girls and explain the basics of electricity generation and discuss the role of nuclear power in our country.  Many thanks to those who volunteered to support this event.

Duke+Bradley- Job Shadowing Project Scientist 2