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High school students tour nuclear plant via The Times

Students from two local high schools got the chance at a behind-the-scenes tour of the Beaver Valley Nuclear Power Station.

SHIPPINGPORT — Students from two local high schools got the chance at a behind-the-scenes tour of the Beaver Valley Nuclear Power Station on Monday.

The visit, coordinated in part by the North American Young Generation in Nuclear, included 24 students from Blackhawk High School and 13 students from Mohawk High School in Lawrence County.

Jim Cannon, a site communications employee at the nuclear plant in Shippingport, said the visit was designed as an experience that took students from the classroom and directly into the real-world operations of a nuclear facility.


Dan Tiberio, a training supervisor at the plant, said any prospective reactor operator has to undergo 18 months of rigorous training before obtaining a license to work in the plant. The simulator, which is built with precise detail to mimic the actual control room, acts as the training ground for prospective employees.

During Monday’s events, the students got the chance to act as nuclear operators, and a plant emergency was simulated so that they could get a real-time feel for everything that goes into such a precise job.

After the visit, the students were tasked with creating a research project based on what they had experienced. For instance, they will tackle projects simulating such issues as what to do with radioactive waste and how to compare the benefits of renewable energy versus fossil fuels.


For FirstEnergy Corp., which owns the nuclear plant, giving tours and welcoming local students is just part of being a good neighbor.

“We want people to understand what it is we do, and how we do it safely right in their backyard. Visits like this are a great opportunity to communicate directly with the next generation,” Rod Penfield, the plant’s manager, said Tuesday.

Penfield agreed with Monteleone and said the visits by students can have far-reaching benefits that extend past the classroom.

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