Monday, July 28, 2014

Nuclear's Contribution to a Positive Future

The following post was sent to us by Southern Nuclear’s Joshua Andrews for NEI’s Powered by Our People promotion. Powered by Our People is part of the Future of Energy campaign that NEI launched earlier this year. This promotion aims to communicate innovation in our nation’s nuclear facilities in the voices of the people working at them. 

Joshua Andrews is a nuclear engineer in the Nuclear Fuel Supply group at Southern Nuclear who has been in the nuclear industry for three years. 

For more on this promotion, take a look at the featured content on our website and follow the #futureofenergy tag across our digital channels. 

Joshua Andrews
Why I enjoy working in nuclear 
My job allows me to make decisions that will directly and positively impact the lives of people I care about and the entire footprint of our service area. There will always be a need for electricity, so I can’t think of a more meaningful way to secure a positive future for myself and my family then to ensure that nuclear is seen as the most viable source of energy production.

Why I think nuclear energy is important to America’s energy future 
I think it’s important for all of the obvious reasons: it provides clean, affordable and reliable energy to customers. With increasing concerns surrounding global climate change, we have to prioritize how we are going to meet America’s electricity demand without negatively impacting the environment. In my opinion, no other energy source does that better on a large scale than nuclear energy, and I worry that most people don’t understand the full value that nuclear can bring to the table. To meet our goals as a country, nuclear energy needs to be part of the long-term solution.

How I bring innovation into the nuclear industry
I am innovating by bringing passion and a new perspective. Many of my colleagues and I graduated from college and immediately joined very seasoned teams. The senior members of those teams provide invaluable experience and knowledge. We bring an opportunity to suggest new approaches or challenge processes that have become unnecessarily burdensome. We are constantly looking for ways that we can optimize or automate tasks that were once monotonous and cumbersome. One of the best ways my colleagues and I bring innovation into the nuclear industry is through our experience and interaction with both social media and newer technologies. With each success, we spread that knowledge to a wide range of personnel, effectively freeing up more time for all of us to be spending on innovative practices.

How working in the nuclear industry affects my personal life 
I work at the utility that supplies electricity to a majority of my family, which has given me the opportunity to effectively educate and communicate with them about the many positive attributes of nuclear energy. My volunteer work with local organizations also lets me spread a positive word about the nuclear industry to others in my community. I’ve found that the majority of people are extremely curious about nuclear energy, and—given the facts—they are ready to shed the negative perception that’s clouded nuclear energy for decades. Additionally, I’m highly involved with North American Young Generation in Nuclear (NAYGN), which has also allowed me to further expand the reach of nuclear energy’s positive messages.

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