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EnEErgiz En EnErgizEd rgizEEd CraftS in demand

Skilled workers essential to nuclear success

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On the cover: A welder works on units under construction at V.C. Summer Nuclear Station. (Photo/Courtesy of SCANA) Energized is produced in partnership by:

Red Hand Media LLC

Duke Energy Corp.’s McGuire Nuclear Station, on the shore of Lake Norman in Huntersville, N.C., hosts a Charlotte Symphony concert each year. More than 10,000 people attend it. (Photo/Courtesy of Duke Energy)

Publisher Ben Kinney

FEAtURES

Special Projects Editor Peter Anderson

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WELCOME TO ENERGIZED

Art Director Jim Denk

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COMMON SENSE AND A COMMITMENT TO NUCLEAR ENERGY

Contributing writers Peter Anderson, Julie Bird, Suzanne Wood

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NUCLEAR OR NATURAL GAS?

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UPFRONT: NEWS TO NOTE

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Nuclear Energy industry’s $20 billion economic impact

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SCE&G helps build A CLEAN ENERGY FUTURE for carolinas

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Q&A: Industry executives TAKING THE LONG VIEW

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INTERNS FUEL NUCLEAR’S FUTURE

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CRAFT WORKERS KEY TO INDUSTRY

Design/Production Director Moira Johnson

Red Hand Media LLC 5605 77 Center Drive, Suite 101, Charlotte, NC 28217 Telephone: 704-523-6987 • Fax: 704-523-4211

Group Publisher Grady Johnson • gjohnson@scbiznews.com Special Projects Editor Licia Jackson • ljackson@scbiznews.com Creative Director Ryan Wilcox • production1@scbiznews.com Contributing writers Scott Carlberg, Rose Cummings, Licia Jackson SC Business Publications LLC 1439 Stuart Engals Blvd., Suite 200 Mount Pleasant, SC 29464 Telephone: 843-849-3100 • Fax: 843-849-3122 All rights reserved. The contents of this publication may not be reproduced by any means, in whole or in part, without the prior written consent of Red Hand Media, LLC and SC Biz News, LLC.

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SAFETY-CONSCIOUS INDUSTRY STEPS UP VIGILANCE

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SMR DEVELOPMENT ON TRACK

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NUCLEAR CLUSTER MEMBERSHIP E

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The Carolinas’ Nuclear Cluster

Welcome to Energized By Scott Carlberg, president, E4 Carolinas

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f you are in the Carolinas reading this edition of Energized, and you have ample lighting and comfortable air conditioning or heat, chances are that you can thank a nuclear operator somewhere close by. Our two investor-owned utilities operate plants that deliver a major portion of electricity from carbonless nuclear energy. Along with our engineering firms, industrial supply houses and educational institutions, they ensure that we have the smarts and parts to make our nuclear plants hum. We have grown accustomed to that dependability. Yet something is different as Energized gets published this year. This year’s edition hits mailboxes as the nuclear energy industry demonstrates its positive impact across our two states, yet nationally the industry has to address important challenges following announcements about several plant shutdowns that have some claiming nuclear energy is not good for America. These challenges will require from Carolina nuclear professionals a more direct voice in the national debate about the energy source that tens of thousands of employees represent in our two states.

SPECIAL thanks To Our

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The Carolinas’ Nuclear Cluster is part of E4 Carolinas, a nonprofit industry association that promotes economic growth, employment, productivity and prosperity by cultivating a collaborative energy industry in the Carolinas. Our “E” stands for energy, economy, environment and efficiency. Standing tall about the industry makes sense for Carolinians. Consider the podium where we are. The Carolinas have a balanced energy portfolio approach, a smart way to manage risks in cost, supply and technology. We use nuclear energy as a major base load and are adding more as SCE&G ably moves ahead in new nuclear investments. The company is investing in gas, too. It plans for a 2019 balanced portfolio of 60% “nonemitting” sources. Duke Energy Corp. has made a national name with its approach to alternative generation. Its conservation programs create energy

savers. North Carolina has been noted for its growth in solar energy and creation of clean energy jobs. Our engineering/ procurement/construction firms are on the job close to home and around the world. All our energy eggs are not in one basket. Professionals in the nuclear industry understand the benefit of diverse generation and conservation of energy resources. They appreciate good work no matter the energy discipline. Nuclear energy supports good economies, workforces and communities. So, by the way, do gas, solar, wind, hydro ... Nuclear professionals recognize that no single solution meets all our energy requirements, and there is a need to counter those who single out and cast doubt on this industry. If you are a Carolinian, take a look at this publication, take pride, and see what our nuclear energy industry is doing here. There are good stories here about creativity, hard work, economic resilience and keen energy skills; these people help power our states. Spread that news. If you are not a Carolinian, you can be. Join this enthusiastic and dedicated group of energy professionals. Become a part of the team. Help us generate more good news. u

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The Carolinas’ Nuclear Cluster

Common Sense and a Commitment to Nuclear Energy By Jim Little, chairman, Carolinas’ Nuclear Cluster

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ecent events in the nuclear energy industry demand that the Carolinas’ Nuclear Cluster raise its voice. These events create the need for a strong defense of the industry: • Entergy announced it will close Vermont Yankee Nuclear Station after receiving a license extension. • Kewaunee Nuclear continues decommissioning. • San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station will not reopen. • “What if” regulations resulting from Fukushima impact the cost of U.S. operations. • Natural gas has become, for now, a fuel-of-choice because of its current low cost. The issue is this: Our national energy viewpoint is not distinguishing between energy values and energy valuation. There’s a big difference. Let’s start with valuation I can’t second-guess a boardroom decision based on financials and the best determination of future business possibilities, especially in a merchant marketplace with the volatility in supply and demand. In the end, companies have to make profits and a return to their shareholders. A decision to shut down an existing facility, which has remaining generation potential, is not, in my opinion, caused by the current economics of nuclear power. It is a result of decisions made more than 10 years ago to deregulate the electric energy industry. Deregulation was envisioned as making the industry more competitive to benefit both consumers and industry. Recent developments show that deregula-

tion allows destabilizing events in an industry where stability is paramount. Utilities invest in needs over 30 to 40 years while generating reasonable and stable returns to attract investors. Deregulation was a vision not realized. What about our energy values? I am concerned about our energy portfolio. Removing an existing, carbon-free generation source without a clear equivalent alternative for the future creates risks by concentrating on other sources, which may be less sustainable or reliable. Some will quickly claim that the availability of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar, effective energy

A reliable, environmentally friendly energy supply

enables a high quality of life, economic prosperity

and security.

efficiency initiatives or the abundance of natural gas would fill the void. These options each have their own challenges and costs. We are betting that solutions will arrive in time with no assurance. This is not a prudent strategy either. Here’s a broad view: Energy utilities fill a socioeconomic role for us. A reliable, environmentally friendly energy supply enables a high quality of life, economic prosperity and security. I am not sure that we recognize this strategic role of utilities. How can we focus on this strategic role? Look at the way we address our

personal decision about retirement. We ask how do we stay financially healthy for the long term. How do we reduce risk? How do we deploy resources? Financial advisers recommend future retirees have a strategy based upon a portfolio of positions. An assortment of assets diversifies opportunities and reduces risks, resulting in lower volatility and greater dependability. Our energy investment strategy can benefit from the same thinking, namely, traders try to pick winners while investors choose winning strategies. We need to be investors and look for frameworks that maintain nuclear power — a clean, ample and long-term low-cost generation — as an important part of our energy portfolio alongside a portfolio of energy assets. Even in a tough environment, be assured that the CNC is not a party to writing an obituary for domestic nuclear energy. People who oppose the nuclear energy industry will use the shutdowns as an indictment of the industry because it is an easy story to tell. It is a simple approach to a complex issue. The real issue is the business model that shortchanges our nation’s ability to have in its energy portfolio a long-term source of carbonless electricity that supports our economic quality of life. There are some good assets that can produce power for our nation and they are under the microscope for the wrong reasons. As a group, CNC will help redefine how our technology contributes to the nation’s energy profile and we should do that with enthusiasm. We should also be enthusiastic about other generation sources that collectively paint a bright and diverse energy future for our great nation. u

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The Carolinas’ Nuclear Cluster

Nuclear or Natural Gas? By Kevin Marsh, chairman and CEO, SCANA Corp.

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uclear or natural gas? Which is the best option for powering South Carolina’s long-term needs for base load electric power? South Carolina Electric & Gas and state-owned utility Santee Cooper are working together to build two nuclear-powered electric generating units at our jointly-owned V.C. Summer Nuclear Station near Jenkinsville, S.C. The project is progressing well and is currently $550 million under the cost originally approved by the Public Service Commission of South Carolina in 2009. However, with natural gas prices at relatively low levels, some are asking if it might make sense for us to stop work on our nuclear project to pursue a natural gas generation strategy. It’s a legitimate question, one we have, in fact, studied. That analysis still points to moving forward with new nuclear. When evaluating options for generating electricity, it’s not just about construction costs. There are many other considerations. First is fuel costs. Although natural gas prices are relatively low right now, it’s still cheaper to produce electricity using nuclear fuel. It’s extremely positive that natural gas prices are low today, but a 20-year historical review will show significant volatility in its cost. The natural gas industry is changing. Today, about 30% of our electric generation is fired by natural gas. Our customers are enjoying the benefits of lower cost gas that shale gas fields and fracking technology have made available recently. However, this same technology is relatively new. Wholesale natural gas prices are currently unregulated, and many question the long-term impacts of fracking. Gas producers are working on strategies to 6

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export their natural gas to overseas markets, which may place upward pressure on price. For all of these reasons, betting South Carolina’s energy future primarily on natural gas is not without risk. Gas has a role — a supporting role — in a balanced portfolio that will protect customers against price swings in any one fuel supply. Nuclear power does not emit carbon dioxide; natural-gas-fired generation does (about half as much as coal). President Obama’s recent introduction of a new Climate Action Plan, specifically targeting carbon emissions, further increases the likelihood of stringent new regulations on carbon emissions. Those regulations will come with significant

For all of these reasons,

betting South Carolina’s energy future primarily on natural gas is not without risk.

expense. Once our new nuclear units are complete, our generation production will be roughly 60% non-emitting, reducing the impact of generation emissions on South Carolina’s air quality and helping to ensure we can comply with any new carbon-reducing regulations. Already, our new nuclear project has allowed us to move forward with the retirement of six of SCE&G’s oldest and smallest coalfired units – representing 730 megawatts of coal-fired generation. Nuclear power is economical. Our current nuclear plant is the lowest cost

generating plant on our system today and is scheduled to operate through 2042. Because of the historically stable, low cost of uranium, our two new units should be low-cost generators for 60 years. Nuclear power is available 24/7. Nuclear plants have the highest average capacity factor (a measure of the amount of power the plant produces relative to what it would produce if running at 100% all the time) of any common form of generation. And one uranium fuel pellet — about the size of a pencil eraser — can produce about the same amount of electricity as 17,000 cubic feet of natural gas. Momma always said, “Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket!” That’s sage advice for eggs, investments and for electricity generation. Adding nuclear power to our system will allow us to achieve a very balanced generation portfolio. Once our two new nuclear units are complete, we anticipate our generation mix will be about 30% nuclear, 30% natural gas and 30% scrubbed coal, with the balance in hydro and some biomass. This will give us the flexibility to take advantage of whatever generation option makes economic sense for our customers at any given point in time. Bottom line: Our new nuclear units will provide South Carolina homes and businesses with the most reliable source of electricity available in America today, will help reduce greenhouse gases in our state and will result in a balanced energy portfolio to serve our customers. Our analysis is that it’s simply the best solution for meeting our state’s long-term need for clean, safe, reliable power, and that it will produce electricity more affordably than any other form of large-scale power generation currently available. u


UPFRONT

N.C. State grad invents app to measure radiation

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t all clicked for Mark Delgado, who graduated this past spring from N.C. State University in Raleigh, N.C. with a degree in nuclear engineering. He was looking for a way to build a printer-scanner system that watermarked high-value items with radioactive ink to prevent counterfeiting. Through his research, he discovered radiation-detection technology hadn’t changed much since the 1960s. So he turned his dorm room into a laboratory, and using what he calls scraps and trash, including an old smoke detector, he built a Geiger counter that uses an app downloaded to a tablet or smartphone to determine radiation levels. Delgado, 24, says it can be used as a survey instrument, mobile enough to detect high levels of radiation while on the move, or it can be parked, standing on guard and ready to send an alert when levels rise. “Not only can they take measurements, they automate data collection and labor-intensive tasks,” Delgado says of his combination of hardware and software. In readings sent back to a central computer, the data can be logged and analyzed, which makes finding problems easier and quicker.

Marketing his invention through his company, Raleigh, N.C.-based Koyr Inc., Delgado, who is CEO, says his first customers were laboratories, but now 90% of his time is spent with nucle-

ar-power generators. Future customers of his invention could include counter-terrorism agencies, hospitals and airports — “any organization that uses radioactive isotopes.” u

Photo/Courtesy of Mark Delgado

N.C. State graduate Mark Delgado created a smartphone app that detects and records radiation levels. E

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Upfront

Westinghouse’s WEC Carolina Energy Solutions to support AP1000® plant builds

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ock Hill, S.C.-based WEC Carolina Energy Solutions, a subsidiary of Westinghouse Electric Co., has received contracts to support the AP1000 nuclear plant projects at V.C. Summer Nuclear Station in Jenkinsville, S.C., and Plant Vogtle in Waynesboro, Ga. WEC provides shop fabrication, construction and field services to the nuclear, fossil, petrochemical, geothermal and process industries. The company provides welding, fitting, machining and related disciplines to erect, modify or replace piping, vessels and plant components. CES has about 35 full-time employees supporting operations in the Rock

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Hill office, with several hundred contract personnel of various skill sets who support shop and field welding efforts. For the first AP1000 nuclear plant project, CES will install 48 bosses and two spray line scoops through machined penetrations to provide instrumentation access points in the four cold leg and two hot leg sections of the reactor coolant loop piping of the AP1000 nuclear steam supply system. CES also been contracted for a second project to support the sulfur mitigation required for the 16 reactor coolant pump casings for the four new units. The sulfur mitigation project is required to support

final welding of the casing to the steam generator, which will be performed at Doosan’s facility in Korea. “This is CES’ first major opportunity to contribute to the AP1000 plant efforts, and we’re very proud to be able to provide support to Westinghouse and our customers,” says Gregg Auld, president of CES. “Our location being just a short drive from both plant sites is an advantage for our customers, who can easily visit the shop to see our progress. The AP1000 plant projects are a milestone for the nuclear industry, and it’s a privilege for our S.C. company to be a part of the national and global efforts.” u


renewable energy

NUCLEAR INDUSTRY HAS more than $20 BILLION IMPACT IN CAROLINAS

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he nuclear industry provides a significant economic impact to the Carolinas — conservatively more than $20 billion, according to a recent study conducted by researchers at Clemson University. In the Carolinas, the nuclear industry employs tens of thousands of citizens in the generation, service and hardware associated with the industry. These companies also have a long-term personal investment in their communities. Each nuclear unit, on average, has some 650 workers creating energy from their plants and value through their work in the community. In North Carolina, nuclear power generation accounts for 32% of the state’s electricity usage, and there are five operational reactors. These include two reactors at the Brunswick power station in Southport, two reactors at the McGuire power station in Huntersville, and one reactor at the Shearon Harris power station in New Hill. In South Carolina, nuclear power generation provides 52% of the state’s electricity usage. The seven operational reactors in South Carolina include one reactor at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station in Jenkinsville, two reactors at the Catawba power station in York County, a single reactor at the H.B. Robinson power station in Brunswick County, and three reactors at Oconee power station in Oconee County. Two new reactors are under construction at the V.C. Summer location. New construction adds thousands more workers. Moreover, the cascading effect of dollars created by the industry and used in communities is estimated to create indirectly more than 5,000 additional jobs and support nearly 80,000 more in some

The Nuclear Industry in the Carolinas by the Numbers The Economic Impact – Direct

– Indirect/Induced

2013 $15.9B $11.8B

Total: $27.7 billion

way that ranges far from actual nuclear energy production. In all, we can easily point to more than 100,000 jobs touched by the industry. That is aside from the jobs created by having a clean, economical, abundant energy source that attracts new industry to our states. Payroll associated with direct employment in the nuclear industry in the Carolinas is greater than $2.2 billion. New construction plus the indirect and induced jobs conservatively add an additional $2 billion to that number. “Residents and businesses in the Carolinas receive real economic benefits from the nuclear industry through jobs, income creation and the multiplier of spending,” says Dr. Scott Mason, lead

researcher for the study, from the S.C. Center of Economic Excellence in Supply Chain Optimization and Logistics at Clemson. This study included research from various segments of the nuclear industry including nuclear operating plants, industrial supply firms, nuclear fuel suppliers, new construction, government facilities, educational facilities, maintenance companies and others. The Carolinas’ Nuclear Cluster commissioned the research to obtain a measure of the economic effects of the nuclear industry. The nuclear industry benefits Carolinians, even those who do not work in the industry itself. “The Carolinas’ Nuclear Cluster has encouraged suppliers to locate and grow inside our states. These suppliers can provide materials to the nuclear industry, and also supply other industries. Examples of businesses in the nuclear supply chain are industrial supply firms, valve manufacturers, design firms, maintenance companies and services such as security and laboratories,” says Scott Carlberg, president of E4 Carolinas, a two-state energy trade group. The Carolinas’ Nuclear Cluster is under the E4 Carolinas’ umbrella. Industry clusters are an economic development concept created by Michael Porter, Harvard Business School professor: “A cluster is a geographically proximate group of companies and associated institutions in a particular field, linked by commonalities and complementarities,” according to his definition. Successful clusters have linked organizations that range from manufacturing to suppliers, service providers and educators. u

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POWERING THE FUTURE

SCE&G helps build clean energy future for South Carolina

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n early March, South Carolina Electric & Gas Company completed placement of the nuclear island basemat for V.C. Summer Unit 2 in Fairfield County. This major milestone was the first new construction nuclear concrete to be poured in the United States in three decades. Since then, SCE&G, co-owner Santee Cooper, and consortium partners Westinghouse Electric Co. and Chicago Bridge & Iron have forged ahead with one of the state’s largest construction projects. The following is a highlight of the

Photo/Courtesy of SCE&G

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two-reactor project as it has progressed during the past year. With about 1,600 workers on-site and components steadily arriving, progress continues on both Units 2 and 3. The project will provide between 3,000 and 3,500 well-paying jobs at the peak of construction. Once completed, there will be about 800 full-time employees in addition to the approximately 800 workers currently employed at V.C. Summer Unit 1, which has been safely and reliably operating for more than 30 years.

The first of the two new units is anticipated to begin operations in late 2017 or early 2018. With the addition of both units, SCE&G’s generation production will be roughly 60% non-greenhouse gas emitting. SCE&G will achieve a balanced generation portfolio — about 30% nuclear, 30% natural gas, and 30% scrubbed coal — giving the company the flexibility to take advantage of whatever generation option makes economic sense for its customers. u


The basemat provides a foundation for the containment and auxiliary buildings that are within the nuclear island. Measuring 6 feet thick, the basemat required approximately 7,000 cubic yards of concrete to cover an area about 250 feet long and 160 feet at its widest section. The 51.5-hour continuous pour of concrete covered a surface with area of 32,000 square feet.

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POWERING THE FUTURE Photos/Courtesy of SCE&G

In late May SCE&G placed the 900-ton containment vessel bottom head for Unit 2 using the Heavy Lift Derrick, the world’s largest crane. Work continues on other sections of the containment vessel, which will house the reactor. The containment vessel is assembled in five sections: 12

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the bottom head, followed by three rings and then the top head. When complete, this massive component, which is fabricated from one and three-quarter- inch carbon steel plates, will weigh about 4,000 tons and stand more than 200 feet with a 130-foot diameter.


The deaerator for Unit 2 arrived from Korea to the Port of Charleston, S.C., on April 30. It was offloaded to a heavy-haul transporter and taken to Lake Marion by barge, a trip of about 20 hours. From there, it was hauled by a truck over several days to complete its multithousand-mile, water-and-land journey to the construction site, arriving May 17. The deaerator is approximately 148 feet long, 19 feet tall and 18 feet in diameter. It weighs about 605,000 pounds. It could not be transported by rail because it is too long to navigate the curves of railroad tracks. This shipment required careful coordination with multiple parties, including local and state law enforcement and governmental agencies that minimized disruption to traffic and ensured safe delivery to the construction site. Supplied by Toshiba, the deaerator purifies water by removing dissolved gases from feed water used to generate steam. This process prevents corrosion, which reduces plant maintenance and operating costs.

The reactor vessel, reactor vessel head and multiple turbine parts arrived in the Port of Charleston, S.C., in late June. The reactor vessel was attached to the special Schnabel railcar for transport to V.C. Summer.

SCE&G hosted media day in early August at V.C. Summer to give reporters and photographers an update on the construction project. The day kicked off with briefings from SCE&G’s nuclear leadership including Steve Byrne, chief operating officer, and Jeff Archie, chief nuclear officer. Reporters and photographers boarded a bus for a tour of the construction site and interviews with Byrne and Archie, as well SCE&G’s Ron Jones, vice president of new nuclear operations, and Alan Torres, general manager of nuclear construction. Chicago Bridge & Iron’s Bill Fox, senior vice president and project director for V.C. Summer Units 2 and 3, also participated.

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ENERGIZED EXECUTIVE Q&A

Industry executives take the long view on nuclear plant development

The nuclear ener gy industr y is navigating its w ay through an evolving ener gy industr y and a challenging economy. ENERGIZED aske d leaders in the nuclear en ergy industr y about th e important crossroads for th e industr y.

Jim Ferland is president and CEO

Ron Jones is vice president of new of The Babcock & Wilcox Co. He joined nuclear operations for South Carolina the company in April 2012 and has more Electric & Gas Co., responsible for Units than 23 years of experience in the 2 and 3 at its V. C. Summer nuclear commercial nuclear power and utility station and leading the organization industry. He most recently served as responsible for operational readiness president of the Americas division at and construction of the two new Westinghouse Electric Co. He also AP1000 nuclear power plants. He served as president and CEO of joined SCE&G in July 2012 after Louisiana Energy Services, helping it retiring from a 31½-year career with obtain a combined construction and operating license for an enrichDuke Energy Corp. in December 2011. He most recently served as ment plant from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, among several senior vice president of nuclear development for Duke Energy. other accomplishments. Tom Franch is senior vice president

of reactors and services for AREVA Inc. North America. He is responsible for business operations overseeing financial performance, products and services innovation, customer relationships and project delivery for the operating U.S. nuclear fleet and the design and deployment of the next generation nuclear plant. While driving growth in the core business and accelerating the mix of services, he has led AREVA Reactors and Services in operational excellence for safety, quality, performance and delivery. He has more than 30 years of power-industry experience in technical, engineering and executive positions.

What is the outlook for nuclear construction given the price of natural gas? What are the short- and long-term implications for the nuclear industry? Jones: Often, the “nuclear vs. natural

gas” debate seems to focus only on a comparison of construction costs. Any prudent evaluation of generation options must consider more than just the construction costs associated with those options. For example, you need to consider lifecycle maintenance costs, 14

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Jim Little is chairman of the Carolinas’ Nuclear Cluster, an industry-led association of more than 50 companies under the umbrella of the energy trade group E4 Carolinas. A 40-year veteran of the nuclear industry, Little was senior vice president of nuclear energy programs and services for URS Corp., with responsibility for both domestic and international markets. Prior to this role, he served as president of two subsidiary companies of Washington Group International, providing regulatory, safety, security and risk and operations management services to both federal and commercial clients.

capacity factor, fuel costs, emissions and other such factors; peripheral issues such as the likelihood of a carbon tax on fossil-fueled generation, uncertainties related to potential new regulations around fracking and other such factors; and the benefits to customers of building and maintaining a diverse and balanced generation portfolio. Adding nuclear power to our system will allow us to achieve a balanced generation portfolio. Once our two nuclear units are complete, we anticipate our generation mix will be about one-third nuclear, one-third natural gas

and one-third scrubbed coal, giving us the flexibility to take advantage of whatever generation option makes economic sense for our customers at any given time. When the new units come online, our generation production will be roughly 60% nonemitting. The bottom line is that nuclear will help reduce greenhouse gases in South Carolina, produce electricity more affordably and reliably than any other form of large-scale power generation currently available and result in a balanced energy portfolio to serve SCE&G’s customers well into the future.


Little: The energy industry headlines have certainly highlighted a “win-lose” mindset about nuclear and natural gas and the short-term economics substantiate the argument. Energy companies may choose natural gas when faced with the need to build a fast, and arguably temporary, generation facility. The Carolinas’ Nuclear Cluster believes that the issue has much more dimension than short-term cost, which has its place. As dedicated as we are to the benefits of nuclear energy we recognize that an “all of the above” energy generation portfolio is essential for a comprehensive national energy strategy, including conservation efforts. In the short term we recognize that additional units may be deferred or replaced with natural gas generation and therefore the role of the existing nuclear fleet becomes even more important and efforts will focus on maintaining and upgrading this important contributor. A sleeper issue is this: If nuclear generation were allowed to diminish over time with some units being decommissioned, a very important source of carbon-free generation would be lost. How should the industry look at the concept of “construction” with only four large domestic projects underway?

Franch: The U.S. nuclear industry is in

the midst of a renewal. Today’s nuclear construction projects are reinvigorating a supply chain that has been dormant for decades. Not only will future construction projects benefit from the lessons learned on these projects, but they also will have a wider selection of vendors and subcontractors that are qualified to the standards of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. In the domestic energy industry, nuclear energy’s value to the country is not only based on building nuclear power stations, but it also includes the ongoing investments in the continued operation of existing nuclear energy facilities. During the past three decades, the existing U.S. nuclear reactors – and tens of thousands of American nuclear professionals – have not sat idle. In fact, this ongoing daily renewal of nuclear energy added the power equivalent of more than six new nuclear reactors to our nation’s electricity supply since 1977. Our existing fleet increased output while maintaining safe and secure operations by continually upgrading technology and capabilities, and those activities continue today. AREVA is at the forefront of this renewal, which is ensuring safe, aroundthe-clock power and is critical for tomorrow’s supply of clean electricity, water and food.

Apart from competition from natural gas, what are the nuclear construction industry’s biggest challenges? Little: Spending has been suppressed

because of economic uncertainties with future demand growth, especially for infrastructure and large projects. A long-term energy option like nuclear requires a longer view and a strategy focused on the real needs of a nation beyond the next few years but rather in increments of 10 and 20 years. In 20 years the question will be asked whether those of us in the 2010s made the right choice for ample, reliable and carbon-free electricity. Here in the Southeast, we are fortunate with the current projects at Vogtle for Southern Co. and V.C. Summer for SCANA. I feel that the leaders who made that call might feel pressure in the short term but will be hailed as visionaries in the long run.

Jones: Over the past few years, the slowdown in the economy has caused some utilities to re-evaluate taking on a large-scale nuclear construction project. However, when looking long-term, we know that nuclear is still the right choice to meet the growing energy needs of our customers.

Ferland: Construction for these four projects has occurred over the last six years, a fairly short amount of time when looking at the substantial task of nuclear builds. This represents a significant uptick from where the industry was 10 years ago when there were no nuclear projects under construction. Given the political climate and the president’s focus on reducing carbon emissions, I see the potential for more nuclear construction projects, particularly in the area of small modular reactors.

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ENERGIZED EXECUTIVE Q&A With a project of this scale, it is not unusual to have some schedule challenges along the way for a variety of reasons. That’s why we have a sound plan in place, and we have been working the plan effectively to manage first-of-its-kind challenges that inherently come with the first nuclear construction projects in the country in three decades. A good example of this is when we made history on March 11, 2013, by pouring the first new construction nuclear concrete in the U.S. in more than 30 years. Measuring 6 feet thick, the basemat required approximately 7,000 cubic yards of concrete to cover an area about 250 feet long and 160 feet at its widest section. It was a 51.5-hour continuous pour of concrete covering a surface totaling 32,000 square feet. This major milestone was an exciting achievement for SCE&G, Santee Cooper, Chicago Bridge & Iron, Westinghouse and others who support our new nuclear project. It was a display of a strong

commitment to safety and collaboration demonstrated by everyone involved.

How can the industry drive a reconciliation between what is feasible technically with what is not happening politically to move the nuclear industry ahead in the U.S.?  

Ferland: I am encouraged by the

current political landscape. President Obama re-emphasized his commitment to nuclear energy in his recently announced Climate Action Plan, and the newly appointed secretary of the Department of Energy, Ernest Moniz, is a nuclear physicist, so I think the perception of nuclear energy is improving and the environment for further development and construction will improve. 

Little: The key is understanding different perspectives and appreciating

them. I know it can be done. Within the Carolinas’ Nuclear Cluster we understand and genuinely believe in an “all of the above” approach to a national energy portfolio. We want to collaborate with others to develop a strong and rich energy network because it helps us all. One way we do this is through our young leaders program that brings together people across the energy spectrum; we team up with people in public and industry forums. As we do this we demystify what may be considered an unapproachable and complex industry. As we continue to display a productive, smart and open-minded manner, we show our character, and in the long term that is productive and innovative.

What strategies will suppliers need to adopt to stay current and vital in the current nuclear industry marketplace?  

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Ferland: Suppliers to the nuclear industry are going to have to become increasingly innovative to compete in the commercial nuclear arena. Research and development needs to remain a priority for those looking to get out front. Being diversified and flexible will play a large role as well. B&W is able to provide in-house engineering, manufacturing and tooling, in addition to its innovative inspection and repair technologies. This provides customers with a single source for those services. Providing this depth will be a key strategy.  Franch: Safety is first and foremost. It

is the foundation for building and maintaining trust and public confidence and is the critical success factor for our people, products and services. As the United States begins building nuclear facilities to safely power its future, the good news is that we continue to increase our output of clean, safe and reliable electricity from the existing nuclear fleet to satisfy today’s consumer demand. Both our clean energy present and future depend on a robust, talented pool of highly skilled engineers, technicians and craft labor. In the electricity utility market, with many professionals nearing retirement age, talent development is a critical focus. AREVA is working to build the workforce vital to tomorrow’s clean energy economy and is proud to support the next generation of industry leaders. The company invests in and employees volunteer to support every segment of the engineering and technical education pipeline — from elementary, middle and high schools to community college and technical training programs to universities. Improving academic achievements in science, technology, engineering and math will go a long way to ensure that the country can compete globally, create jobs and achieve the levels of economic growth that will bolster Americans’ standard of living and energy independence.

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ENERGIZED EXECUTIVE Q&A How do you think small modular reactors will fit into the nuclear mix? What opportunities and challenges are they likely to face? Jones: We support the research and

development of SMR technology. We believe that the Department of Energy funding opportunity announcement will help to see demonstration projects are built in the near term. SMRs would seem to be a good fit for developing nations whose electrical grids cannot sustain a large (more than1,000 megawatts) reactor, but could support something in the range of the current domestic light water options (45-250 megawatts). Another intriguing possibility is replacements for the older, smaller coal plants that have been or will be retired in the next few years in this country. These facilities generally have land, rail, water, workforce, transmission and a community that would welcome jobs and tax revenue. We certainly see the potential in SMRs in the long term. SCE&G has decades of experience in building and operating nuclear plants. This experience would be a benefit if SMRs were ever added to our generation fleet. The challenge right now is proving that they are commercially viable. And even if they are, the timing and cost must be right. Just like any new increment of generation, it must make sense for us as well as our rate payers.

Little: Nuclear facilities have always been perceived as big projects. After all, big plants are what people see from the road as they drive by. The small side of nuclear has only been viewed by people in the military service who have slept close to a small reactor on a ship. The industry has a long road ahead, especially in two key areas, but that road can be traveled efficiently and safely if we are truly committed. First, the NRC has great experience in reviewing designs for approving large facilities, but not the 18

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smaller, integrated and novel ones. It’s time to address that issue and build a smart SMR approval process. Second, the industry needs to educate the public that SMRs are proven technology, and we are merely looking at new and strategic configurations to bring carbon-free electricity to new customers. There is no reason not to consider a phased approach to building nuclear generation, which may offer an affordable and predictable investment option. With the strategic needs of key military installations, there is no reason why these bases cannot be demonstration sites for SMRs.

How can SMRs’ effectiveness be demonstrated to the public?  

Ferland: The B&W mPower reactor

program is at the forefront of SMR development. We signed a cooperative agreement with the DOE in April for a public-private partnership to support design and licensing of the mPowerTM reactor with the intent to deploy the word’s first commercially viable SMR plant at Tennessee Valley Authority’s Clinch River site near Oak Ridge, Tenn., by 2022. We’re on an aggressive schedule to do this and anticipate that once this site is online, the market for SMR technology will develop quickly. Our mPowerTM SMR makes nuclear energy accessible to both large and small utilities, provides a carbon-free solution for repowering aging fossil power plants, and complements intermittent renewable energy sources with its load following capability. There is also significant interest in the international market.

From which international market do you think the United States nuclear construction industry can learn most and why? Jones: The global nuclear industry embraces a spirit of cooperation that

benefits every operator and developer of a nuclear plant. Collectively, it makes the entire industry stronger. This philosophy is aligned with an emphasis on creating a culture of continuous learning. Because China is considerably ahead of us with the construction of their Westinghouse AP1000 reactors — the same technology we are using for V.C. Summer Units 2 and 3 — we have learned and applied valuable lessons from their experiences. For example, we learned from one visit the importance of constructing a 13-story building that would allow assembly of very large modules on site vertically rather than horizontally, as well as provide protection of the modules from adverse weather conditions. While this sounds like a simple observation, lessons such as this can positively affect a project’s schedule and budget. We plan to continue to have access to their project during various stages of construction, start-up testing, and initial plant startup to bring back valuable lessons learned to V.C. Summer. Of course, the U.S. nuclear industry is still making our safe plants even safer in response to Fukushima. At V.C. Summer Unit 1, for example, we’ve already taken steps to procure redundant mitigation equipment, including a new firetruck and a backup communications tower. Lessons learned from Fukushima will carry over to the development of our new nuclear project.

Little: The industry has come a long

way from the stick-built construction approaches of more than 30 years ago. International construction experience in Japan in the 1990s produced impressive results and important lessons learned. More recently, the novel design of the Westinghouse AP1000 and its modular construction approach have been implemented in China. This same approach is being implemented on the projects at both Vogtle for Southern Co. and V.C. Summer for SCANA. u


Powering job opportunity

Energy industry sees its future in interns

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hile many businesses and industries evaluate their next generation workforce after colleges and universities graduate students, the Carolina nuclear energy industry follows another path. These companies engage college and university students while they are still in school. The students can achieve their job goals, and the company helps plan for its future workforce. Approximately 600 of tomorrow’s energy workers were at internships and co-op assignments this past summer in the Carolinas, and many were in the nuclear industry. The companies learn about the students and their potential, and the students learn about prospective career paths. With internships, students work at a company during a regular school term or the summer as a part of their studies. Among the nuclear-oriented Carolinas companies using summer interns are AREVA, ASCO Valve, CB&I, Duke Energy, Energy Solutions, Fluor, Mesa Associates, Mitsubishi Nuclear Energy Systems, Savannah River Site, SCANA, Westinghouse, URS Corporation and Zachry. Internships provide real-world education and a test-drive for these prospective employees. “The work schedule and demands of keeping the lights on 24/7 while adhering to the highest standards in safety and performance is not an environment for everyone,” says Debby Hager, manager, strategic workforce development for Duke Energy Corp.’s nuclear generation department. “Intern programs allow the company to determine if the student is a potential full-time employee and for the student to determine if the company is where he or she would like to start a career. This two-directional look is an

important component to match students with careers and has proven successful for interns and our company for many years.” That was the case with Danielle Suprick, who recently joined Mesa Associates, an engineering services firm in Fort Mill, S.C. Danielle is a mechanical engineering graduate from UNC Charlotte who interned with Mesa this past summer. “Danielle has quickly become a valuable member of the team. Her willingness and drive to participate in projects has broadened her understanding of engineering applications in the utility market,” says Brandi Reilly, program

Interns are our primary

pipeline for hiring recent college graduates.

Nikki Harris manager of university relations and programs AREVA

manager for Mesa. “We fully endorse internships and/or cooperative education to provide real-time experience and knowledge for the younger generation. It is our way to accommodate the brain-drain of baby boomers leaving the energy sector and an excellent opportunity to put our best senior employees to work as coaches and mentors.” Internships are vital as the energy industry faces a workforce development time-crunch. Getting the next wave of employees in place is critical. The Center for Energy Workforce Development says, “... an estimated 46% of the workforce may need to be replaced by

2015, in large part due to the upcoming waves of baby boomers reaching retirement age in the coming years.” That could be some 200,000 skilled workers across the country. Adding to the challenge is a skills gap among applicants across companies. “Sixty-seven percent of companies are having a hard time filling skilled job positions. Sixty-one percent said the top reason for that was a lack of qualified job applicants,” reports EDTECH Journal. Additionally, the National Center for Education Statistics reports that 70% of our nation’s school children are “less than proficient” in science and math. The skills gap has serious implications. Deficiencies in the basics, such as reading and math, affect shop floor technical skills and the ability to perform. “Our nation has the people, but many people don’t have the skills to do the work that needs to get done,” says E4 Carolinas’ Scott Carlberg. “This is a threat to our economic and energy well-being. In the Carolinas, energy companies are taking action.” SCANA is leading workforce development in the Carolinas as it staffs its two new nuclear facilities north of Columbia in Fairfield County, S.C. “Interns play an important role in our strategy to create a pool of future employees,” says Scott Macfarland, human-resources manager at SCANA in Columbia. “One of the measures for success is the number of former interns who get hired full-time when they graduate. Hiring at least 30% of your interns is a strong indicator that you are realizing the full strategic value of your program.” The SCANA nuclear program hires 40% of its interns. Continued on page 21 E

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Powering job opportunity

Next generation of nuclear professionals working at V.C. Summer Nuclear Station V.C. Summer Nuclear Station is preparing the next generation of nuclear professionals through a rigorous high school and college internship program and sponsorships of local chapters of professional organizations such as the North American Young Generation in Nuclear, American Association of Blacks in Energy American Nuclear Society and Women in Nuclear. Here are some of the young professionals working there:

Chester Rodrigues III

Greenville, S.C., is home for Chester Rodrigues III, but he has traveled around the globe, thanks to his work in nuclear energy. While interning at University of Tennessee, he studied alternate uses of nuclear energy in the medical field and saw how this efficient energy source could help others. It was a presentation by Bill Magwood, a commissioner with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, that illustrated the potential of nuclear energy as a power source and a viable career path. After graduating from S.C. State University with a bachelor’s degree in nuclear engineering, Chester saw the future he wanted in his home state. An engineer in quality systems since 2011, he visits manufacturers that make components for the reactors under construction. He is president of V.C. Summer’s chapter of North American Young Generation in Nuclear (NAYGN).

Findlay Salter

Sometimes the best opportunities are closer than you think; at least that was true for Findlay Salter, a licensing engineer for

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SCE&G’s nuclear project at V.C. Summer. Findlay grew up in Irmo, S.C., attending local schools before heading to Clemson University. He hardly knew about the nuclear plant safely operating about 20 miles away. That changed when he returned from Clemson in 2009 — at the peak of the recession — with a bachelor’s in civil engineering. At a dinner, he heard a V.C. Summer employee talk about pre-construction work as the site prepared its application for combined construction and operating licenses (COLs) for submittal to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. After being hired in the licensing department, he worked on the application submittal, under a process done only once before in the nuclear industry. Since SCE&G received its COLs in 2012, he continues to support construction. He is co-chairman of professional development for V.C. Summer’s chapter of NAYGN.

Tyrone Heyward

Tyrone Heyward has understood the importance of service since childhood. Growing up in Bamberg County, S.C., he saw the work his parents provided to the community, joining his electrician father on jobs as well as helping his mother with her day care center. While earning a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from UNC Charlotte, Tyrone led two busy lives: one as a full-time

engineering student and the other as a full-time customer service employee. Since joining SCE&G in early 2012, he has brought these lessons to his job as a design engineer at V.C. Summer Nuclear Station, where he also understands the role serving SCE&G’s customers. He gives back to the community by serving as the chairman of community service for V.C. Summer’s chapter of NAYGN.

Courtney Tampas

Courtney Tampas is a true renaissance woman. She succeeds in whatever she chooses, whether sticking a landing in a gymnastics routine, performing a flute or piccolo solo or conducting probabilistic risk analysis for a nuclear facility. With a love for math and science, Courtney, a native of Brandon, Fla., knew engineering was her calling. With a bachelor’s degree in engineering from University of Florida, she began her career at V.C. Summer Nuclear Station in 2012 in an unlikely place: the probabilistic risk assessment group, a department filled with seasoned engineers. Her professionalism and technical knowledge helped her quickly earn the respect of her coworkers. She is chairwoman of social activities for V.C. Summer’s chapter of NAYGN and on the executive panel of Columbia’s chapter of ANS.


Continued from page 19

Elizabeth Salas

Eye-opening experiences came in unlikely places for Elizabeth Salas. She moved from New Jersey to Fairfield County, S.C., in ninth grade. When she was a junior at Fairfield Central High, a teacher recommended her to be the first high-school intern at V.C. Summer. Jeff Archie, chief nuclear officer for SCE&G, asked a seasoned health physics supervisor to mentor her. Her mentor provided advice on nonscience careers and introduced her to V.C. Summer’s Women in Nuclear organization. She studied finance at Winthrop University, continuing as a summer intern in the finance department. After graduating in May 2013, she returned to V.C. Summer as a junior accountant.

Conducting an internship program takes planning the end game to ensure the best results. “Interns are our primary pipeline for hiring recent college graduates, which is part of our overall strategy for meeting the increased need of early talent hires,” says Nikki Harris, manager of university relations and programs at AREVA, a global company focused on cleaner, safer and more economical solutions for low-carbon power generation.

AREVA announced in March the relocation of its North American headquarters to Charlotte, N.C. This past summer more than 30 interns and co-op students around the region are supported AREVA’s North American operations in a variety of technical and corporate positions. Energy companies also use internships to identify students who may not fit the regular profile but may have a “certain something” to investigate. Charlotte’s Mitsubishi Nuclear Energy Systems’ Andrew Collins, director of organizational Continued on page 22

Latavis Belton

V.C. Summer Nuclear Station feels like home to assistant engineer Latavis Belton. He grew up about 10 miles south of it in Winnsboro, S.C. As a child, he intently watched his father work on the family truck, helping solve technical problems. There was no doubt he had the mind of an engineer and a desire to help others. During a high school session, SCANA leaders presented the career possibilities with the company. Latavis remembered this when he started college at S.C. State University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in nuclear engineering. Each summer, he returned to V.C. Summer as an intern, working in many different departments. Latavis has served on the executive panel of NAYGN, American Association of Blacks in Energy, and ANS.

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Powering job opportunity Continued from page 21

E4 Carolinas has various workforce development efforts to strengthen energy education and the professionals in this field. A few of those efforts: • Assess future energy hiring needs in the Carolinas • Design special energy training • Strengthen higher education energy engineering programs • Operate young leader classes, a women-in-energy group and an energy communicators group “High rates of internships means that companies and academia are teaming up wisely. In the Carolinas our intensely collaborative work ethic is a competitive advantage for us in the energy industry,” Scott Carlberg says. “Others may try to imitate it, but we have the innate talent and history to make it work. Young workers appreciate those who genuinely care about professional development, and the energy companies in the Carolinas are collectively developing the workforce that can ensure an energy-secure America.” E4 Carolinas is a nonprofit corporation that convenes industry, research and educational institutions, innovators, economic-development organizations, and public leaders to coordinate the energy cluster in the Carolinas. The Carolinas’ Nuclear Cluster is a part of this broad energy organization. E4 Carolinas’ mission is to promote economic growth, employment, productivity and prosperity by cultivating a collaborative energy cluster in the Carolinas region. The four E’s stand for Energy, Economy, Environment and Efficiency. Learn more about E4 Carolinas at its website: www.E4Carolinas.org.

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development, says, “Interns can be a rare opportunity to take a calculated risk on someone that may not be perfect on paper, but seems to have something special to offer. Look for that intangible potential, capacity to learn and the work ethic that can pay significant dividends.”   A company is a mosaic of varied skills and personalities, and internships help verify how the pieces work together. Finding a fit and filling a need are strategic workforce issues. A purposeful approach to building a team is critical. One manager says, “I am not the kind of person I need to hire.” To put it in another way, why go for two-of-a-kind when you can draw a flush. Opt for the best hand. Building the company brand among upcoming grads also is valuable. Internship programs serve as human resources marketing tools. A positive experience with the company gets its name into the general student market. Collins of Mitsubishi says, “If a company creates a seriously tough internship experience, it will quickly gain the reputation that they are the company of choice for future leaders to seek.” Interns do more than help each company that uses them, however. An ample and well-trained workforce is essential for local economic development. Industry needs good workers to thrive. A network of internships can reinforce workforce development and build a region’s reputation as a place for young people to relocate and grow. Here’s an example. A young woman from New York joined the three-week high school summer session called the Young Investigators’ Summer Program in Nuclear Technology at N.C. State University. Lisa Marshall, director of outreach at State says, “During our program we visited a nuclear plant and had students engage in a slice of our reactor training program. Afterward that student enrolled at NCSU and later

interned at Progress Energy. Upon graduation she joined the company and is with Duke Energy today.” This collaborative educational and corporate experience attracted a smart young person here, to stay and contribute to the Carolinas’ economy. Marshall says, “Relationship-building drives a successful intern program from the first contact with students through the recruitment and interview process to job execution and follow up. Students want to genuinely participate in the industry and we in the educational and corporate world must authentically engage with them for success.” Carolina energy companies are stepping up to the plate on this critical jobs issue. Parents also have a role in reinforcing the path to skilled jobs: support school efforts to improve STEM education and make science and math knowledge an active part of the home environment. “More and more careers require competencies in science, technology, engineering and math, but students are not always aware of these career options,” says Aiken Technical College Vice President for Education and Training Dr. Gemma Frock. “Through our QuestATC camps and our Scout Saturday workshops, we teach young people, in a fun, hands-on environment, what these opportunities are. By engaging not only students, but also parents, to understand and support the value of a STEM education, we encourage an interest in STEM for future generations and ensure that a highly-trained workforce exists to fill the high-demand careers available in our region.” Internships make a difference. “Nearly two-thirds of graduating seniors from the class of 2013 took part in an internship or a cooperative education assignment during their years pursuing a bachelor’s degree,” according to a survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. u


CRAFT Workers A student in the nondestructive examination program works in a lab at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, N.C.

Photo/Courtesy of Central Piedmont Community College

Craft workers key to nuclear energy industry

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t sounds too good to be true: complete Midlands Technical College’s nonlicensed nuclear reactor program, put in two years of work experience, pass a license exam and your annual pay will be about $55,000. Ten years later it can be as high as $150,000. But it is coming true for recent high-school graduates and workforce veterans who want to be at the controls of a nuclear plant, says Clint Chandler, chair of the Columbia, S.C., school’s engineering technology and engineering university transfer programs. “Reactor operators are the principal people in a plant who keep things running. They’re jacks-of-all-trades and master of them all. Whereas a typical engineering technology associate degree might require 250 competencies, our program requires students to have 2,406 competencies. It’s like drinking from a hose.”

Most people conjure images of Ph.D.-wielding engineers and scientists when asked who makes up the nuclearenergy workforce. But it doesn’t always take a four-year degree or more to earn a high-responsibility position at a power plant or manufacturer in the industry. Most of the workforce — the people who operate the controls, inspect the pipes and wires, and guard against radiation leaks — have associate or technical degrees. People are needed to fill these positions for many reasons, among them the age of the current nuclear industry workforce: About half of the workers will be eligible for retirement within the next 10 years and those positions will have to be filled. Also driving demand is the pace at which new reactors are going online and licenses are being renewed for about three-quarters of existing reactors.

Many of these technical workers start their training at community colleges. Working with the Washington, D.C.based Nuclear Energy Institute — the industry’s education and policy trade association — community colleges are creating programs and expanding current ones to meet industry needs. “Community colleges provide an excellent springboard for individuals looking to enter the nuclear energy industry,” says Elizabeth McAndrew-Benavides, senior manager of workforce policy and programs at NEI. “A two-year degree in nuclear technology can make a candidate highly qualified for most entry-level operator, technician or maintenance positions. In 2012, the nuclear energy industry hired nearly 2,000 individuals into these positions across the country.” Community colleges in the Carolinas are no exception. They are creating or

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CRAFT Workers

Photo/Courtesy of Aiken Technical College

A professor talks with students wearing radiation protection suits for a practice session in radiological survey at Aiken Technical College in Graniteville, S.C.

expanding workforce-training programs with a focus on degree and certificate programs in instrumentation and control, nuclear protection, welding and nonlicensed nuclear operations. Factor in all the skilled craft workers needed to build new nuclear plants or reactors and there are more than 20 job classifications that don’t require a four-year college degree. Welders are sought by the nuclear industry in the Carolinas, thanks in part to Columbia, S.C.-based South Carolina Electric and Gas, which is building two reactors in Jenkinsville, S.C. At Aiken Technical College in Graniteville, S.C., pipe welding was once a certificate program. It is now part of the two-year engineering technology associate-degree program, which is expanding “to meet the needs of nuclear power plant construction,” says David Deal, chair of the college’s industrial, skilled trades and nuclear department. Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, N.C. offers a welding technology associate degree. It was recently expanded to include classes in orbital-welding, which uses a computer-guided machine to perform welds, says Anver Classens, division director of the

Workers needed

More than 20 job classifications in the nuclear-energy industry don’t require a four-year college degree, including: • • • • • • • •

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Carpenters Electricians Engineering technicians Heavy-equipment operators Machinists Maintenance technicians Pipe fitters Technicians, including chemical, environmental protection, instrumentation and control, and radiation protection Security officers Welders


applied technologies division. When appropriate, companies prefer orbital rather than manual welding because it poses less risk to the operator and can reduce equipment costs. While welding is most often associated with plant construction, most of the programs that supply workers to the nuclear industry train for plant operations. Graduates of Aiken Tech’s industrial maintenance associate-degree program are ready for jobs in any mechanized industry, including the nuclear field, Deal says. “They have all the skills needed to work in industrial maintenance, which involves maintaining process control in a plant. Today’s manufacturing processes are very advanced, with computerized, digitized process control. Maintenance workers don’t have the ‘knuckle dragger’ and ‘sparky’ reputations that they used to.” The salaries these workers can earn — NEI says the median salary for these types of workers is $66,581 — attest to the skills they possess and the responsibility they are given. For would-be nuclear workers seeking even more responsibility and opportunities for advancement, there are Central Piedmont’s nuclear power plant inspection program and Midlands Technical College’s nonlicensed nuclear operator program. The inspection program — the only one in North Carolina — includes nondestructive examination instruction. NDE is common in industries such as aerospace, petroleum, civil and structural engineering, and nuclear power. NDE-trained inspectors check welds, fittings, connections, vents and entire systems without harming them. “There’s a lot of maintenance that goes on in a power plant,” Classens says. “Inspections are important not only to spot defects but to decide whether to close the plant or monitor the problem and make sure it doesn’t propagate. We started this program because we were seeing company requests. Employers see the skill level of our graduates, which are superior to workers trained in-house.” Although most students in the nuclear-related programs in the Carolinas

are in their 20s and 30s, that’s expected to change soon. The popularity and prevalence of science, technology, education and math programs in high schools is one reason those students are rethinking the four-year college degree option in favor of two-year scientific and technical programs. And word-of-mouth advertising isn’t hurting. “Young people and their parents are starting to get more interested in our reactor operator program,” Chandler says. “They like the idea of earning $145,000 and only having to go to school for two years.” u

Photo/Courtesy of Midlands Technical College

A student hones welding skills at Midlands Tech in Columbia, S.C.

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Powering Research

Photo/Courtesy of EPRI

Photo/Courtesy of N.C. State University

At left, N.C. State has one of the few university-operated nuclear reactors in the country. Above, EPRI led the design of a concrete crawler robot, which makes inspections safer for workers.

Research efforts support Carolinas nuclear INDUSTRY

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aining access to the components of a nuclear power plant for maintenance or repair is an ongoing challenge, since current inspection requirements didn’t exist when many were designed and built in the 1960s and ’70s. To jump that hurdle, Palo Alto, Calif.-based Electric Power Research Institute teamed with industry leaders in the Carolinas’ Nuclear Cluster to develop a small robot — called a concrete crawler — that can climb the sides of structures such as hydroelectric dams, nuclear containments and cooling towers. It’s outfitted with nondestructive evaluation devices to inspect components for cracks and other problems without harming them. In the past, inspections required erecting scaffolding and sending workers up to have a look. A prototype crawler from Ithaca, N.Y.-based International Climbing Machines Inc., which won a request for proposal to commercialize the idea, was recently successfully tested on a hydroelectric dam on the Niagara River, which flows along the border connecting Ontario, Canada, and New York. 26

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A robust network of academic and research centers has grown with the nuclear cluster, supporting research, development and innovation while educating the scientists, engineers and technicians needed to ensure the industry continues to flourish here. EPRI supports its members — government agencies to utilities — by training and certifying specialists on nondestructive evaluation technology. Charlotte, N.C.-based Duke Energy Corp., for example, recently asked the lab to review NDE data gathered during maintenance at the Shearon Harris Nuclear Power Plant near Raleigh, N.C., to prioritize tasks during future inspections, says lab director Greg Selby. While examining data, an EPRI technician noticed indications of a possible defect that had been overlooked. Duke shut down the plant to fix the problem. One of the best examples of this network is the Energy Production and Infrastructure Center, which opened in fall 2012 as part of UNC Charlotte’s William States Lee School of Engineer-

ing. Nuclear industry leaders, including Dhiaa Jamil, Duke Energy executive vice president and president of Duke Energy Nuclear, were “very instrumental to getting EPIC started,” says EPIC Director Johan Enslin. Jamil now chairs EPIC’s advisory board. UNC Charlotte does not have a nuclear engineering program, but EPIC offers energy-focused classes for engineers-in-training, as well as a graduate-level certificate in nuclear engineering. Nuclear engineering firms with Charlotte offices including AREVA North America Inc.; Pittsburgh-based Westinghouse Electric Co., part of the Japanese company Toshiba Corp.; and San Francisco-based URS Corp. helped revamp several undergraduate engineering classes and continue to donate money and provide resources to the center. The energy industry now supports about 100 scholarships at the college, up from none five years ago. The energy concentration is proving popular: Engineering college enrollment jumped 40% after EPIC opened. “It was


a big challenge, I can tell you,” Enslin says. “We didn’t expect that. And the average GPA for those students went up.” This fall the university will offer an energy MBA managed jointly by the Belk College of Business and UNC Charlotte’s engineering college. “A lot of [engineers] want to do an MBA after four or five years in the industry. We’ve packaged a program that makes sense to their industry.” EPIC professors also conduct industry research, including projects with Duke Energy to improve energy storage at nuclear power plants and to better integrate electricity generated from multiple sources. EPIC also has a grant from Westinghouse to develop training systems for nuclear power plant operators that will be along the same lines as the flight simulators that pilots use. UNC Charlotte, with one of the country’s few neutron generators, also is devising ways to harness alternate radioactive isotopes, Enslin says. In Raleigh, N.C. State University operates the only nuclear engineering program in the state and one of the few university-operated nuclear reactors in the country. Agman Hawari heads the nuclear reactor program for the school’s Department of Nuclear Engineering, which has both undergraduate and graduate programs. The department has expanded from 50 students in the early 2000s to more than 200. “The growth has been monumental,” Hawari says. “It goes with the growth of the nuclear industry in general, and it goes with the feeling that nuclear is a reasonable source of energy. The industry has shown it’s a safe and environmentally sound choice.” The nuclear-engineering department also runs a multidisciplinary research program, which conducts federally and industry-funded nuclear research. Much of it is aimed at improving safety with advanced reactor technologies and reducing their waste, Hawari says. Research projects include developing a reactor that can shut itself down in an

Photo/Courtesy of UNC Charlotte

UNC Charlotte’s EPIC offers energy-focused classes for engineering students. emergency and developing safer nuclear fuel. The university’s reactor is undergoing a $1.4 million U.S. Department of Energy upgrade from 1 megawatt to 2 megawatts to better support such research. In South Carolina, whose residents get 56% of their electrical power from nuclear power plants, the University of South Carolina’s College of Engineering and Computing offers master’s and doctoral degrees in nuclear engineering. It does not have a dedicated undergraduate degree in nuclear engineering, but undergraduate engineering students can minor in it. USC professors are teaming with U.S. Department of Energy laboratories on several projects, says Travis Knight, acting

head of the nuclear engineering graduate program. They’re working with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee to study the feasibility of using longer lasting fuel, allowing nuclear plants to operate for 24 months before refueling instead of 18 months. They’re also working on accident-tolerant fuels that won’t generate explosive hydrogen after reacting with reactor-cooling water. Hydrogen fueled the explosions at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan, which was damaged after an earthquake in 2011, causing more than 100,000 people to be evacuated, though no deaths have been attributed to problems at the plant. “I feel very fortunate to be in this position,” Knight says, “at this time particularly.” u

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Powering Safety

Safety-conscious industry steps up vigilance

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ne word comes up again and again when nuclear power experts talk about safety: Fukushima. The already safety-obsessed industry turned up its vigilance after a devastating earthquake and tsunami crippled the Japanese plant. Its failure was a “once in a million-year event,” says Vic Fregonese, vice president of safety, quality and performance improvement for AREVA Inc., a French nuclear engineering and services company that has its North America headquarters in Charlotte, N.C. There have been three significant incidents — Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania, Chernobyl in Russia and Fukushima — in more than 14,500 cumulative reactor years of commercial operations in 32 countries, according to the London-based World Nuclear Association (WANO), whose members represent every facet of the industry. U.S. nuclear power plants don’t face the same kind of risk as Fukushima because they are sited and designed to withstand natural disasters. “But industry did agree on some things that would make a safe industry even safer,” Fregonese says. AREVA has been involved in several projects to increase safety, including developing technology to help plant operators monitor spent fuel that’s in wet or dry storage. Twelve-foot-long spent fuel rods must remain submerged in water for several years to avoid overheating, a condition that when water is introduced produces steam and hydrogen, leading to Fukushima-size explosions. AREVA is testing a spent fuel pool monitoring system that uses radar that can peer through smoke, steam and debris to measure water levels from up to 200 feet away. 28

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Photo/Courtesy of Savannah River National Laboratory

Photo ©AREVA/W.Wrigh

At top, Savannah River lab researchers use vegetable oils to treat contaminated water. Below, AREVA’s pool-to-pad system helps utilities manage used fuel. Another lesson learned from Fukushima is that emergency backup equipment should not be stored near the plant, where it could be damaged by the same calamity that takes down the plant. AREVA and Birmingham, Ala.-based Pooled Equipment Inventory Co. were selected by the Washington, D.C., Nuclear Energy Institute’s Nuclear Strategic Issue Advisory Committee to store equipment for utility customers at off-site regional response centers. The Savannah River National Laboratory in Aiken, S.C., is working with nuclear power generators to develop commercial nuclear fuel that is more “tolerant of an event like a Fukushima,”

says lab director Terry Michalske. Some of the research involves applying temperature resistant coatings — or cladding — to prevent fuel-water reactions from producing hydrogen if the fuel becomes overheated. As the lab’s commercial partner on the project, AREVA would be responsible for getting a product based on the technology to market. Other Fukushima-related research at Savannah River includes modifying the chemistry of radioactive water to capture the contaminants and fix them in place, preventing them from polluting groundwater. The process uses microbes in the soil that eat the toxic chemicals and radioactive contaminants.


The Savannah River lab also is working on ways to safeguard radioactive material against becoming part of a terrorist’s dirty bomb, Michalske says. “Ultimately we would like to make sure it is well-controlled and transformed into a state where it no longer has the potential for that kind of adversarial use.” The idea is to work with other countries to package, secure and ship material containing highly enriched uranium to the U.S., where it would be chemically reprocessed into a low-enriched form suitable only for energy reactors. U.S. law prohibits recycling spent nuclear fuel out of concern that it could fall into the wrong hands. But the inventory of spent fuel is growing, says David Jones, senior vice president at AREVA. In France and several other countries, used fuel is reprocessed. Recovered plutonium and depleted uranium goes to an AREVA mixed-oxide plant. About 96% of the fuel can be recovered and reused in what the industry calls a closed fuel cycle. The remainder is processed into a stable form for long-term disposal storage. “We still see recycling being one of the options that should be pursued in the U.S.,” Jones says. “The idea has gotten traction throughout the industry.” Meanwhile, the University of South Carolina is working with Savannah River to simplify the recycling of used fuel so less waste is produced, says Travis Knight, interim head of the university’s nuclear engineering program. Researchers are hitting used fuel with reactive gases including fluorine to separate the “good stuff and bad stuff.” Some of the waste would remain with the plutonium so it could not be used in a weapon. One of the highest priority research projects for the utility-funded Electric Power Research Institute is developing a coating to replace the zirconium cladding now used for nuclear fuel, says Christine King, director of fuels, chemistry and high-level waste. “In the context of a severe accident, that would give us more coping time to deal with

the accident itself and have less consequences.” EPRI, based in Palo Alto, Calif., but with an office in Charlotte, N.C., also is working on a resin that would isolate radioactive cobalt isotopes in reactor water. The resin bonds with and sequesters the cobalt, reducing cleanout requirements and allowing workers access to containment structures sooner during maintenance outages Digital upgrades are improving safety at Duke Energy’s Oconee Nuclear Station in Seneca, S.C., which is marking its 40th anniversary this year. It was one of the country’s first commercial nuclear power plants. Oconee has been transitioning the reactor protection system and engineered safeguards protection system on its three nuclear units during regularly scheduled maintenance shutdowns over the past two years. “The first-of-its-kind upgrades for a U.S. pressured water reactor make plant operations more reliable and safer,” says Michael Bailey, electrical and reactor systems engineering manager. The digital safety systems can detect problems with plant operations and automatically adjust or activate key systems to address them. The upgrade added safety redundancies, ensuring “a single problem can’t cause a failure.” The digital systems also allow continuous online monitoring of various intercon-

Photo/Courtesy of Savannah River National Laboratory

Savannah River National Laboratory handles spent fuel and proliferant nuclear material from around the world. nected systems. “Using older analog instruments meant certain systems were manually checked just once a day,” he says. “Problems were only caught during scheduled manual checks, regardless of when they might have started.” u

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Powering with SMR

mPower receives additional funding to develop its small modular reactor

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harlotte, N.C.-based Babcock & Wilcox mPower received an additional $20.5 million of funding from the U.S. Department of Energy under the Small Modular Reactor Licensing Technical Support Program. This amount makes the DOE’s full commitment of the initial budget period available to B&W mPower as it develops its SMR — small nuclear power plants that are assembled at a plant and then shipped to a final site. The B&W mPower reactor is an advanced integral pressurized water reactor designed to generate 180 megawatts of electricity. The company received the first installment of $79 million when it signed the agreement in April. The DOE has provided about $2 million to national laboratories to perform analyses and evaluations related to the project, bringing the total DOE investment to $101.5 million. B&W received the first award from the DOE to design, license and develop a commercial version of its SMR in partnership with the Tennessee Valley Authority and San Francisco-based construction company Bechtel International. Through a five-year cost share agreement, the DOE will invest up to

Illustration/Courtesy of mPower

mPower received an additional $20.5 million in funding from the Department of Energy for design of its small modular reactor.

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half the project’s cost, with industry partners matching the investment. More funding is expected but subject to appropriations from Congress and B&W mPower’s compliance with the terms of the agreement. “The additional funding allocation from the DOE further demonstrates the U.S. government’s commitment to supporting private industry in the development and deployment of small modular reactor technology,” says Christofer M. Mowry, president of B&W mPower. The company is on schedule to begin commercial operation of the Clinch River mPower Plant near Oak Ridge, Tenn., by 2022. Next round of funding Another round of grants for SMR development is being offered by the DOE, and several companies with Carolinas ties are competing for this funding. These include: • Holtec International, based in Marlton, N.J., wants to build an SMR at Savannah River Site in Aiken County, S.C. This bid has the backing of the state of South Carolina and NuHub, the commercial nuclear advocacy group in the Midlands region of South Carolina. • NuScale Power, headquartered in Corvallis, Ore., has an agreement to build an SMR at the Savannah River Site. • Westinghouse, which operates a fuel fabrication facility in Columbia, S.C., is developing an SMR at St. Louis-based Ameren Corp.’s Ameren Missouri’s Callaway Energy Center near Fulton, Mo.

Photo/Licia Jackso

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While a handful of companies push ahead on small modular reactor designs, one company is already analyzing components for its version. At its fuel fabrication facility in Columbia, S.C., Pittsburgh-based Westinghouse Electric Co. has fuel assemblies ready for testing. The Department of Energy is reviewing the second round of grants for SMR development, and Westinghouse is in the running, says John Goossen, the company’s vice president of innovation and development for SMRs, a new generation of small nuclear power plants that are built in modular sections and shipped to their final site for assembly. Westinghouse has taken its licensed robust fuel assembly design and scaled it down for an SMR, says Jeffery Norrell, director of product engineering for Westinghouse. The SMR fuel assembly is based on technology being used in its AP1000® nuclear reactors, two of which are being built by Cayce, S.C.-based SCANA Corp. at V.C. Summer Nuclear Station. The Columbia plant will simulate SMR operation to test two of the assemblies for fretting (wear) on the fuel rods, using testing and analysis methods approved by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, fuel design engineer Mike Conner says. The design has shown no problematic wear in the AP1000 fuel assembly tests. The Westinghouse SMR is an integral pressurized water reactor. It is designed as a stand-alone unit.


Membership Information Shearon Harris Nuclear Plant

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arolinians are world leaders in the design, construction and supply of electricity. Our states are home to leading power generating companies and major energy engineering companies. The Carolinas supply more than 11% of the nation’s nuclear energy. Our two states have a strong nuclear supply chain and we continuously strengthen that supply chain. We do that under the umbrella of a dynamic energy industry trade organization that builds teamwork across the two states: E4 Carolinas.

What is an economic development cluster? An economic development cluster strategy builds on a foundation of comparative advantages. Well-run clusters spur corporate and educational innovation. Robust clusters lead to strong industry collaboration, gains in efficiency and a stronger presence in the market. A cluster can be an economic development magnet. The Carolinas’ Nuclear Cluster does this based on: workforce development, advancing wise energy policies, enhancing innovation, economic development teamwork — and above all, collaboration. What our energy expertise means to us: The headlines about energy supply, economics and cleanliness align in an energy imperative: The Carolinas have a unique competitive advantage in nuclear energy. The two states, through the Carolinas’ Nuclear Cluster and E4 Carolinas, are the go-to source for regional nuclear energy information.

CNC vision The people, services and products in the Carolinas’ Nuclear Cluster fortify our states’ economy, create environmentally friendly electricity, contribute to energy independence and are the world’s center of nuclear energy excellence. CNC mission The organization collaboratively strength­ens workforce, services, products and policies to extend our global leadership. CNC members • Aiken Technical College • AREVA • Carotek • CB&I • Citizens for Nuclear Technology Awareness • Clemson University • Central Piedmont Community College • Duke Energy • Economic Development Partnership • Electric Power Research Institute • Emerson/ASCO Valve • Energy Solutions • EngenuitySC • Fluor • Francis Marion University • Gaston College • Global Quality Assurance • Hendrick Construction • J-E-T-S Inc. • Kontek • Koyr Engineering • Merrick & Company • Mesa Associates Inc.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Midlands Technical College Mitsubishi Nuclear Energy Systems N.C. Department of Commerce N.C. State University New Carolina NTE Energy Nuclear Safety Associates Orangeburg Technical College Pegasus Steel RCS Nuclear Red Wolf Associates S.C. Department of Commerce S.C. State University SCANA SCUREF Siemens I & C Savannah River National Lab SRSCRO The Babcock & Wilcox Company Tindall Corporation Toshiba America Nuclear Energy UNC Charlotte URS University of South Carolina WACHS Services Weirich Consulting Westinghouse York Technical College Zachry Nuclear

More information: Rose Cummings facilitator, Carolinas’ Nuclear Cluster 704-840-5202 Scott Carlberg president, E4 Carolinas 704-835-0004 www.E4Carolinas.org

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2013 Energized