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Young Adults Tout Nuclear Benefits, Opportunities

Nuclear Energy Insight

January 2009—New opportunities to showcase nuclear energy’s benefits and the promising careers the industry offers—that is how participants describe Clean Energy America, a new national speakers’ bureau.

Clean Energy America is composed of young engineers and scientists, as well as professionals in finance, law and mining who volunteer their time to participate in a range of presentations and debates on energy issues. The group’s primary focus is reaching out to college students and young adults.

Young nuclear energy experts Felisa Limon and Ben Grambau on TV in North Carolina“It’s both interesting and surprising to have a young person speaking on nuclear issues and to see the industry from their perspective,” said Rick Morris, Clean Energy America’s speaker coordinator and president of Smith & Harroff.

Audiences see nuclear as a “future technology” when they see and hear these young professionals speak, Morris said. Moreover, students in engineering and related fields may also start to think about the nuclear industry as a potential career path when they see a peer exhibit such enthusiasm about their career, he added.

Natalie Wood, a design engineer for Entergy and a volunteer with Clean Energy America, enjoys talking to engineering
students about nuclear technology and the opportunities the field provides.

“It’s a good time to enter the nuclear industry,” Wood said. She added that it is important for the young generation to be
involved with energy decisions being made.

“We have the opportunity to plan how the next generation meets energy needs,” Wood said, adding that she would like to see more nuclear plants built for that purpose.

Volunteers kicked off the program in September 2008. Speakers have since completed 10 campus visits and conducted more than 15 television, radio and newspaper interviews. Participants also have conducted interviews in Spanish for local affiliate stations in Florida and Texas.

The program uses traditional and new media outlets to reach a large audience and generate greater awareness of nuclear energy. As a result, participants actively contribute to the Clean Energy America blog.

The blog acts as a direct link for the public and members of the press to experts working in the nuclear field. It is a forum to ask questions and discuss the industry as well as the future of nuclear power generation in the United States.

Nuclear energy represents a dependable solution to increasing energy demands. The industry offers exciting and promising careers, including 15,000 new jobs created in recent years.

“It’s not the industry that’s died off,” Wood said. “There are young people involved and we’re moving forward.”

More information about Clean Energy America, including the blog, can be found at www.cleanenergy4america.org.

—Read more articles in Nuclear Energy Insight and Insight Web Extra.