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Volume II, Issue 1 | Page 1 Augusta Technical College

Fall 2012

The neutron because nuclear matters

Welcome! The Neutron focuses on all things nuclear at Augusta Technical College.

look inside Nuclear Engineering Technology for Tomorrow Many Thanks to Dean Robinson! Spotlight on... Bill Thompson Got Nuclear? Check it Out! Featured Recipe Be Featured! NET Information Sessions

#6 Principle for a strong nuclear Safety culture A questioning attitude is cultivated. Individuals demonstrate a questioning attitude by challenging assumptions, investigating anomalies, and considering potential adverse consequences of planned actions.

Nuclear Engineering Technology for Tomorrow

By: Melissa Foster, Augusta Technical College


rom the Master’s Golf Tournament to the soulful sounds of James Brown, Augusta is rich in history. Nestled in the heart of the Central Savannah River Area (CSRA), the city also provides unique career opportunities in nuclear technology. As more focus has been placed on clean energy at the national level, we find ourselves in the midst of a nuclear renaissance. Augusta Technical College is working to meet this need for a well-trained nuclear workforce through the Nuclear Engineering Technology (NET) program. Industry Needs The NET program was developed in response to retirement within the industry and new construction. As current employees retire, a void is created for a new workforce to fill. Additionally, new builds have prompted the need for programs like NET. A little less than an hour southeast of Augusta is the city of Waynesboro, GA. Waynesboro is home to two nuclear reactors, Vogtle 1 and 2. In February 2012, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) approved the construction and operating license of two additional reactors, Vogtle 3 and 4. This decision marked the first NRC construction license since 1978. Other new builds in the area include the Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility (MOX) at the Savannah River Site and V.C. Summer Station, a nuclear reactor under SCE&G and Santee Cooper, in South Carolina.

NET Program The NET program is a planned sequence of courses based on the nuclear utility initial training programs accredited by the National Nuclear Accrediting Board to ensure appropriate transition of graduates into the required industry training programs. The Uniform Curriculum Guide standardizes associate degree nuclear training across the nation. The curriculum consists of a total of 69 credit hours, 47 of which are occupational courses. The program covers material in mechanical maintenance, instrumentation and control, electrical maintenance, and non-licensed operations. During their tenure in the program, students have the opportunity to attain a Nuclear Uniform Curriculum Program (NUCP) certificate, as administered by the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI). This certificate enables the holder to work at any nuclear installation across the country and may prove to be advantageous in the employment process. Augusta Technical College admitted its first cohort

of 40 students into the NET program in fall 2010. Since then, the program has offered admission to two additional classes of 60 students. Entrance into the program occurs once a year. This year, the NET program is looking to accept another group of 60 students for fall 2013. Continued on page 2...

This material is based upon work supported by the Department of Energy Environmental Management under Award Number DE-EM0001232.

Volume II, Issue 1 | Page 2 Augusta Technical College

Fall 2012

The Neutron Continued from page 1...

Nuclear Technology for Tomorrow By: Melissa Foster, Augusta Technical College Recruitment As the Academic Advisor for Nuclear Technology Programs, I joined the Augusta Technical College team in June 2011. My role is to dispel myths associated with nuclear energy and educate students on career opportunities in the field. Each year, Augusta Technical College hosts several information sessions on the NET program. We invite representatives from our utility partner, Southern Nuclear, to be a part of the sessions and answer questions specific to the company and industry. We have found these sessions to be an effective and informative tool in recruiting prospective students. Three times a year, the college also distributes The Neutron, a newsletter dedicated to topics related to nuclear energy.

Partnership The NET program would not be possible without the successful partnership between the college and Southern Nuclear. In June 2012, the company hosted a program to honor the 24 graduates of the inaugural NET class. This marked an important milestone in the partnership between Augusta Technical College and Southern Nuclear. Bill Thompson, a distinguished graduate of the NET Class of 2012, gave a speech reflecting on his experience in the NET program. Thompson summed up the partnership well when he said, “Our partnership has been characterized by stewardship, optimized by leadership, and humanized by friendship. Looking forward, there is much work left to be done. But today, we celebrate.” In August 2012, Georgia Power, in collaboration with Southern Nuclear, donated Graduation and Placement $15,000 to Augusta Technical College. The money In April 2012, the college graduated the first class of will be used to enhance classroom technology, in24 students from the NET program. The graduates cluding new computers, for current and future stuwent on to pursue a five-week internship at Southern dents. Through programs like NET, Augusta TechNuclear. Of the graduates, 18 students went on to nical College hopes to not only meet the needs of work at Southern Nuclear in positions including Nuthe present, but provide the community with a clear Technician, Instrumentation and Control Techni- promising future. cian, and Systems Operators in Training (SOIT). One additional student is gainfully employed at the MOX This article will be featured in an upcoming issue of facility at the Savannah River Site. “The Georgia Engineer” magazine. Find out more at

Thank you, Dean Robinson! After thirty years of service to the college, Dean Jo Anne Robinson will retire from Augusta Technical College at the end of November. Dean Robinson currently serves as the Dean of Information and Engineering Technology, a department that houses 30+ programs, including the NET program. Dean Robinson was integral in the development of the NET program three years ago. Since then, she has continued to play a key role in the program’s growth. We thank Dean Robinson for her service to the NET program and Augusta Technical College. We wish her the best in all of her future endeavors. She will certainly be missed!

“A teacher affects eternity: he can never tell where his influence stops.” -Henry Adams

Volume II, Issue 1 | Page 3 Augusta Technical College

Fall 2012

The Neutron

Spotlight on…Bill Thompson

System Operator in Training (SOIT) at Southern Nuclear 2012 Graduate of the NET Program at Augusta Technical College What brought you to the nuclear industry? I was drawn to the nuclear industry because I was excited by the idea of having a job that would challenge me daily. The potential to make a good income didn’t hurt either! What is the greatest lesson you took away from your time in the NET program? Ask LOTS of questions! Never be afraid to speak up and say, “I don’t understand this.” Our industry is, in fact, “special and unique” and it is imperative we act with certainty. What are your job responsibilities? My primary responsibility is nuclear safety, as is the responsibility of everyone on site. Secondly, as a System Operator in Training (SOIT), my job responsibilities are comparable to that of a college student. I attend training lectures for approximately 6 hours each day. The rest of my time is devoted to studying. What motivates you as a young professional? As a young professional, I am motivated by the opportunity to be a part of something much larger than myself. I am surrounded by many intelligent people who are very good at what they do. Though I still have much to learn, I realize that I am an integral part of the company’s potential success. Collectively, we are all working to achieve the same goals.

How do you balance the demands of work and home? Wow! What a question! I think it’s important to remember that life is much more than a job. I’ll admit, it’s not always easy to leave work behind. However, I believe that finding a healthy balance between home and work requires that you pay close attention to the needs of your family and maintain open lines of communication. Why should young people consider a career in nuclear? Young people should consider a career in nuclear because it has a very bright future in the United States. Energy security and independence continues to rest at the forefront of our nation’s goals. Both political parties recognize that success in nuclear energy is vital to winning our energy independence. What piece of advice would you give prospective nuclear students? I would advise prospective students to sharpen their skills in mathematics. Finding solutions to complex problems is something that is done daily in our industry. If that is not your strength, then the nuclear field may not be right for you. If this does sound exciting, however, you may want to consider pursuing a career in nuclear. Just for fun, fill in the blanks: The #1 song played on my IPOD is…“Stay” by Jeremy Camp. The farthest I’ve been from home is…South Florida. My ideal fall Saturday would be spent…with my family at a Carolina football game! Go Gamecocks!

Volume II, Issue 1 | Page 4 Augusta Technical College

Fall 2012

The Neutron

Got Nuclear?

Deadline: February 1, 2013 Applications for the Nuclear Engineering Technology (NET) program are due February 1, 2013 for entrance in fall 2013. Prospective NET students must have their application, official transcripts, and minimum testing requirement completed by this date to qualify for priority consideration. Starting next fall, students will be required to complete college algebra prior to classes in August. There will be a section of college algebra offered over summer 2013 for students who do have transfer credit in algebra. Interested applicants should attend an information session (see page 5) and visit the NET website at nuclear_engineering_technology.html. For specific inquires, contact Melissa Foster, Academic Advisor, at

Check it out! Net Facebook page Each issue of The Neutron features a new nuclear website. This issue features the NET program’s Facebook page. This page keeps users updated on events, information, and news related to the college and industry. Like us today! Check it out:

Featured recipe: Slow Cooker Pork and Green Chili Stew Courtesy of Ingredients: 2 lb. lean boneless pork loin Cooking spray 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour 3/4 cup diced onion 1 can whole green chilies, sliced into thick rounds 2 tbsp. chopped jalapeño, or more to taste
 10 oz. can diced tomatoes and green chilies 1/2 cup fat-free lowsodium chicken broth 1 tbsp. cumin 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
 Salt and pepper to taste Instructions: Cut pork into 2-inch pieces. Season with salt and pepper. Heat a large non-stick skillet on high heat; when hot lightly spray the pan with oil and brown the pork over medium heat on all sides, about 3 - 4 minutes total. Sprinkle 1 tbsp. of flour over pork and stir to cook 30 seconds, sprinkle remaining flour over pork and cook an additional 30 seconds. Add browned pork to the crock pot, along with the remaining ingredients.

The Neutron’s Next Top Feature! Submit your feature in The Neutron (article, website, comic, recipe, etc.) to Melissa Foster at

Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours (if using a Dutch oven, cook on low heat for 3-4 hours). When done, adjust season, salt and pepper to taste if needed. Serve over rice with sliced avocado and sour cream if desired.

Volume II, Issue 1 | Page 5 Augusta Technical College

The Neutron

Fall 2012

The Neutron 2.1  

A newsletter dedicated to all things nuclear at Augusta Technical College.