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UT’s Women in Nuclear Students Experience Place-Based Education at Watts Bar Nuclear Plant

WiN students and their academic advisor in the Watts Bar Nuclear Power Plant.

From left to right: Amanda Lovelace, Michael Pagan, Kyle Anderson, Sidney Eilertson, Amanda Bachmann, Xena McDonald, and Essa Altalalah.

The UT Chapter of Women in Nuclear (WIN) recently got the chance to experience firsthand what they normally only see in textbook diagrams: a nuclear power plant.

The NE department’s academic advisor, Amanda Lovelace, joined the six students–Michael Pagan, Kyle Anderson, Amanda Bachmann, Sidney Elertson, Xena McDonald, and Essa Altalahlah for a full day tour of Watts Bar Nuclear Plant, which is owned and operated by TVA.

Two cooling towers at Watts Bar Nuclear Plant.After a presentation about TVA and its mission, the crew learned about the plant’s history and energy portfolio and were given a nuts-and-bolts overview of plant operations. They also saw firsthand the secondary side of the plant, including turbines, condensers, and a simulator room used for training operators.

The purpose of the trip was to give students a chance to experience the nuclear plant as a classroom and learn about possible careers working at one.

“It was a really cool experience to visit Watts Bar,” said Amanda Bachmann, president of WIN. “My favorite part of the trip was seeing the safety culture of the plant; the PPE (personal protection equipment), the signs reminding everyone to hold the hand rails on the stairs, and learning how much training operators go through to be prepared in the unlikely event of an accident.”