YORK COUNTY, S.C., May 29, 2002 -- Duke Power and Westinghouse are partnering to provide a state-of-the-art training facility designed to meet current and future industry needs for highly qualified technical employees.
Catawba Nuclear Station will provide the facilities, some training personnel and the opportunity for participants to gain practical, day-to-day operational experience.
Westinghouse will offer its technical knowledge, equipment, established programs and industry outreach.
"In short, we are partnering to raise the standard of training in the industry even higher," said Mark R. Keith, Catawba training instructor. "We are not interested in the status quo. Our program will be cutting edge, clearly establishing a new benchmark for nuclear training."
"We're going to be able to meet the needs of the current nuclear work force and their successors," added William T. Soule, Westinghouse project manager. "We will bring in the latest software, the newest teaching techniques and include on-line information."
The training center will be located on the grounds of Catawba Nuclear Station and will use existing lab and classroom space. Training mock-ups will be installed, focusing first on instrumentation and control maintenance style training, which is Westinghouse's core program. Other programs will be added as the industry requires.
The flexibility of the training facilities and centralized location of Catawba to numerous other nuclear stations in the Southeast eliminates space limitations and provides better logistics to increase the cost-effectiveness of the program.
"Our goal is to have class sizes of between 14 and 16 people," Soule and Keith said. Participants will be able to take Westinghouse's classroom lessons and then see how they are applied in the day-to-day operations at Catawba.
"There are practical lessons that just can't be taught through books or computers," said Catawba Training Manager Al Lindsay. "It takes the experience of working on the equipment to understand how each action affects other areas of the plant."
Although Westinghouse will begin conducting classes during the summer and fall of this year, plans call for a new mock-up -- essentially the reactor's rod control system -- to be in place by first quarter 2003.
Training programs will be offered to employees and prospective employees of all nuclear utilities. Most classes will run for 10 days to two weeks, although shorter refresher courses are planned. Westinghouse will announce classes in its regularly published newsletter.
The availability of this type of training program will be especially important as the industry moves to the next generation.
"As we begin the 21st century, we must ensure that our work force is ready to meet the challenges of the future. We need to provide talented individuals properly trained to assume the responsibilities of safely operating a station," Soule said.
"New employees have to possess the specific skills we require, and they're not taught in most trade schools," Keith added. "In the past, we gained the necessary experience through the military or by working in the plant. People coming into the industry now don't have that opportunity, so we need to provide an alternative."
Catawba Nuclear Station is a two-unit power plant located on Lake Wylie in York County, S.C. Each of its units can generate electricity at a rate of 1,129 megawatts. Catawba unit 1 began commercial operation in 1985, unit 2 in 1986. The station is jointly owned by North Carolina Municipal Power Agency Number 1, North Carolina Electric Membership Corporation, Piedmont Municipal Power Agency, Saluda River Electric Cooperative Inc. and Duke Power.
Westinghouse Electric Company LLC, wholly owned by BNFL plc, offers a wide range of nuclear plant products and services to utilities around the world, including fuel, spent fuel management, service and maintenance, nuclear automation and advanced nuclear plant designs. Westinghouse supplied the world's first commercial pressurized water reactor nuclear power plant in 1957 and has designed the world's largest installed base of operating nuclear power plants. More information is available at: www.westinghouse.com
Duke Power, a business unit of Duke Energy, is one of the nation's largest electric utilities and provides safe, reliable, competitively priced electricity to approximately two million customers in North Carolina and South Carolina. Duke Power operates three nuclear generating stations, eight coal- fired stations, 31 hydroelectric stations and numerous combustion turbine units. Total system generating capability is approximately 19,300 megawatts. More information about Duke Power is available on the Internet at: www.dukepower.com.
Duke Energy is a diversified multinational energy company with an integrated network of energy assets and expertise. The company manages a dynamic portfolio of natural gas and electric supply, delivery and trading businesses -- meeting the energy needs of customers throughout North America and in key markets around the world. Duke Energy, headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., is a Fortune 100 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available on the Internet at: www.duke-energy.com.