Constellation Energy- Nine Mile Point
Samantha Wyant '09 (Civil Engineering)
The complexity of nuclear power amazes me. Through my 8 month co-op at Constellation Energy's Nine Mile Point Nuclear Station near Oswego, NY I have had the opportunity to explore nuclear power to it's fullest. My education and involvement at Clarkson prepared me very well for this experience and the leadership and communication skills that I developed through my involvement with Theta Phi Alpha and the team-based focus at Clarkson were invaluable to me.
I worked in the Mechanical/Structural Engineering Design Department and was given the chance to work on a variety of different projects such as plant modifications, calculations, presentations to my supervisors and management, Excel spreadsheets that will be used for years to come and the opportunity to analyze plant drawings and documents. I was even given the chance to see the replacement of nuclear fuel (it glows a very pretty blue color - not green like in The Simpsons!) in the reactor during a refueling outage where I acted as a Foreign Material Exclusion Monitor to make sure that we did not leave any materials behind in the reactor when we closed it back up. The 8 month co-op option (as opposed to a 3 or 4 month summer internship) gave me the chance to really get involved with projects because I became familiar with the plant.
My work experience also gave me the chance to build lasting networking relationships with the personnel within my department, on the Nine Mile Point site and across the Constellation Energy fleet. Especially because of the networking that being a co-op has allowed, a possible future job in the nuclear power industry has also provided me with a great opportunity because nuclear generation has recently reached a stage of rebuilding and renewal. Plans are being developed for new nuclear power plants in the United States for the first time since the last plant started construction almost 30 years ago! Especially with our current popular fuel sources and natural resources reaching depletion - and prices rising! - at an alarming speed, my experience with nuclear power could give me an edge up in the future, both when it comes to getting hired after graduation and by giving me a better education than I would have received through schooling alone. I am very pleased that I was given this opportunity and would recommend it to anyone considering the co-op program while at Clarkson.