Skip to main content

Engineering America's Diverse Energy Portfolio

My name is Alyxandria Wszolek and I am a senior at the University of Tennessee, majoring in nuclear engineering with a minor in reliability and maintainability. I could not be more appreciative of the Department of Nuclear Engineering here. I have been given so many opportunities and experiences through this school, and many doors have been opened to me.
Alyxandria Wszolek
Alyxandria Wszolek
Although I only recently accepted a full time job offer to work in the nuclear industry, I have been surrounded by it all my life and passionate about pursuing this career for many years. I have interned at Exelon Generation in BWR core design group, Reactor Engineering at Three Mile Island, and both Reactor Engineering and Electrical Systems at Nine Mile Point. I accepted a full time position at Nine Mile in Reactor Engineering. I am currently president of the University of Tennessee Women in Nuclear Section. I am also involved on a national level in the U. S. Women in Nuclear Communications Committee, serving as the Facebook lead on the Social Media Team. 

I always knew that I wanted to be an engineer. Engineers are the creators of the world we live in. Mostly everything you see and use throughout the day has been engineered in one way or another, whether it was designed, optimized, manufactured, etc. I want to do these things and I want to help change the world. That is how I came to become a nuclear engineer. We all use energy, and we take it for granted. But what would we do if we turned on the lights and nothing happened or if we couldn’t charge our phones or laptops? The demand for energy is increasing, more and more each day. Not only that, but there many countries that struggle with energy availability. Energy makes it easier to teach, create, innovate, heal, and develop. I believe we need nuclear to help solve these issues to help generate electricity in an affordable, emission-free, reliable way.

I truly believe that nuclear is the best form of energy production to supply large amounts of baseload power. Right now, our country relies heavily on fossil fuels, but when you look at the facts, nuclear is a lot more efficient. One uranium fuel pellet creates as much energy as one ton of coal or 17,000 cubic feet of natural gas. Nuclear is an emission-free energy source. Even moving forward with renewable energy, we will need nuclear not only for the transition, but also to provide the reliable baseload energy that would be needed to support. There is danger in relying on one sole form of energy production. A diverse energy portfolio is key to the protection and growth of our country’s energy consumption.

The above post was sent to us for NEI’s Powered by Our People promotion. It aims to showcase the best and the brightest in the nation’s nuclear energy workforce.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Making Clouds for a Living

Donell Banks works at Southern Nuclear’s Plant Vogtle units 3 and 4 as a shift supervisor in Operations, but is in the process of transitioning to his newly appointed role as the daily work controls manager. He has been in the nuclear energy industry for about 11 years.

I love what I do because I have the unique opportunity to help shape the direction and influence the culture for the future of nuclear power in the United States. Every single day presents a new challenge, but I wouldn't have it any other way. As a shift supervisor, I was primarily responsible for managing the development of procedures and programs to support operation of the first new nuclear units in the United States in more than 30 years. As the daily work controls manager, I will be responsible for oversight of the execution and scheduling of daily work to ensure organizational readiness to operate the new units.

I envision a nuclear energy industry that leverages the technology of today to improve efficiency…

Why America Needs the MOX Facility

If Isaiah had been a nuclear engineer, he’d have loved this project. And the Trump Administration should too, despite the proposal to eliminate it in the FY 2018 budget.

The project is a massive factory near Aiken, S.C., that will take plutonium from the government’s arsenal and turn it into fuel for civilian power reactors. The plutonium, made by the United States during the Cold War in a competition with the Soviet Union, is now surplus, and the United States and the Russian Federation jointly agreed to reduce their stocks, to reduce the chance of its use in weapons. Over two thousand construction workers, technicians and engineers are at work to enable the transformation.

Carrying Isaiah’s “swords into plowshares” vision into the nuclear field did not originate with plutonium. In 1993, the United States and Russia began a 20-year program to take weapons-grade uranium out of the Russian inventory, dilute it to levels appropriate for civilian power plants, and then use it to produce…

Nuclear: Energy for All Political Seasons

The electoral college will soon confirm a surprise election result, Donald Trump. However, in the electricity world, there are fewer surprises – physics and economics will continue to apply, and Republicans and Democrats are going to find a lot to like about nuclear energy over the next four years.

In a Trump administration, the carbon conversation is going to be less prominent. But the nuclear value proposition is still there. We bring steady jobs to rural areas, including in the Rust Belt, which put Donald Trump in office. Nuclear plants keep the surrounding communities vibrant.

We hold down electricity costs for the whole economy. We provide energy diversity, reducing the risk of disruption. We are a critical part of America’s industrial infrastructure, and the importance of infrastructure is something that President-Elect Trump has stressed.

One of our infrastructure challenges is natural gas pipelines, which have gotten more congested as extremely low gas prices have pulled m…