21 TVA Employees Earn Nuclear Plant Operator Licenses
Nov. 5, 2009
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – Twenty-one TVA employees have passed exams administered by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and received licenses authorizing them to perform and supervise duties needed to operate TVA’s nuclear power plants.
“These employees have demonstrated a high level of knowledge and proficiency to receive licenses that authorize them to operate some of our company’s most valuable assets," said TVA Chief Nuclear Officer Preston Swafford. “The intensive, year and a half program was filled with long hours of studying, extensive hands-on training, and comprehensive testing and evaluations.”
Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant
Employees licensed as senior reactor operators and qualified to supervise others in the control rooms at TVA’s Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant near Athens, Ala., are Brian Maze, Decatur; Dave Pettit, Athens; and Doug Winton, Hartselle. New reactor operators at Browns Ferry include Tim Andrews, Athens; Ashley Fann, Arab; and Seth Brooks, Tommy Jackle and Chris Winton, Florence.
Sequoyah Nuclear Plant
New senior reactor operators at Sequoyah Nuclear Plant in Soddy Daisy, Tenn., are Bruce Buch and Gary Casey, Soddy Daisy; Jim Fuller, Sale Creek; and Matthew Leenerts, Hixson. Terry Anderson, Hixson; Tim Howard, Chattanooga; and Donald Langford, Soddy Daisy, are new reactor operators at Sequoyah.
Watts Bar Nuclear Plant
Newly licensed senior reactor operators at Watts Bar Nuclear Plant in Spring City, Tenn., are Jeff Kreil, Rockwood; Keith Skubisz, Spring City; Chris Rice and Tim Taylor, Dayton. New reactor operators for Watts Bar are Sean Mobley, Crossville, and Gary Thompson, Athens, Tenn.
To earn a license to operate a TVA nuclear plant, a candidate must meet specific education and experience requirements. Once evaluated to be a candidate for the rigorous training program, a class of trainees must complete 18 months of classroom instruction, in-plant hands-on training and extensive practice using a full-size, control room simulator. Like aircraft simulators, nuclear plant simulators allow operators to repeatedly practice responding to normal and emergency situations to ensure they are proficient in safely handling any scenario.
To prepare for initial licensing by the NRC, potential operators study a wide range of topics from theoretical subjects, such as nuclear physics and the mechanics of heat transfer and fluid flow, to the physical details of dozens of plant systems. Operators must have in-depth knowledge of the plant’s layout, which typically covers an area measured in acres, as well as the thousands of pieces of plant equipment.
They also must become proficient in monitoring and manipulating hundreds of controls and instruments in the control room and precisely following procedures to operate the plant. To maintain their qualifications and NRC license, operators must complete at least 200 hours of training annually and pass license re-examinations each year to ensure they sustain a high level of knowledge and skills.
“We recognize the sacrifices our employees make to obtain and maintain licenses and appreciate their dedication and commitment, as well as the support of their families and friends,” said Swafford. “TVA is proud of these individuals and will fully support them as they carry out their duties to operate our plants to the highest of standards and protect the health and safety of our employees, the public and the assets that we have entrusted to them.”
TVA is the nation’s largest public power provider and is completely self-financing. TVA provides power to large industries and 158 power distributors that serve approximately 9 million consumers in seven southeastern states. TVA also creates economic development opportunities and manages the Tennessee River and its tributaries to provide multiple benefits, including flood damage reduction, navigation, water quality and recreation.
Kay Whittenburg, Chattanooga, (423) 751-7152
TVA News Bureau, Knoxville, (865) 632-6000