Teachers tour nuclear plant, learn about job opportunities

Photo by Don Norfleet.

About 50 Missouri teachers Tuesday toured the Callaway Nuclear Power Plant and learned not only how the plant generates electricity but also how to inform their students about many jobs available at the plant.

During the annual Educators Open House at the Callaway Nuclear Plant, teachers and school administrators learned about a wide variety of scientific teaching equipment that speakers can bring with them when representatives of the nuclear plant’s speakers bureau visit schools to help interest students in technology and about careers in the nuclear industry.

One popular teaching tool is a portable Van de Graff electrostatic generator. It generates a small electrical field around it that can produce a small spark when a hand is passed near a globe.

Teachers then received instruction on how the nuclear plant operates and a wide variety of facts about nuclear power.

They learned that it’s not smoke but harmless water vapor coming from the top of the plant’s big cooling tower. Water that does not touch the nuclear reactor is pumped up into the tower for cooling before it is returned to the Missouri River. The water in the nuclear reactor is held separately and does not come into contact with the water that is used for cooling purposes before it is returned to the river.

Briefing the teachers were Rick Eastman, supervisor of business operations at the plant, and Matt Arri, senior recruiter at the plant.

Arri said the Callaway Nuclear Plant has been in operation since Dec. 19, 1984. Because this nuclear plant and many others like it around the nation have been operating so long, many of the employees are ready to retire and many good-paying jobs are available at the Callaway Nuclear Power Plant and at other nuclear plants and research facilities around the nation.

Arri said half of the nuclear employee workforce is eligible to retire within the next 10 years and one-fourth of the employees at the plant are now eligible to retire.

The Callaway Nuclear Power Plant has 877 employees. Of that number, 267 live in Fulton, 166 in Columbia, 158 in Jefferson City; 51 in Holts Summit; 28 in New Bloomfield; 26 in Steedman; 24 in Mokane; and 24 in Auxvasse.

Gary Nevels of Linn State Technical College at Linn said the college is offering a two-year associate of applied science degree program in nuclear technology on a Linn Tech satellite campus located at the Advanced Technology Center in Mexico, Mo.

Students can participate in an internship program at the Callaway Nuclear Power Plant. If hired they can earn about $55,000 a year and the mean average salary of students from the program earn $75,850 a year.

Callaway County teachers attending the tour and seminar included Linda Baysinger, Barb Barko and Patrick Mudd, all Fulton Middle School teachers; Gary Bonsall, Michael Aver and Eddie Mulholland, all South Callaway School; Ashli Houchins, Kara Hinta and Melissa Head, all North Callaway School.

Other school representatives from Central Missouri included: Laurie Harris and Megan McReynolds, both of Jefferson City Public Schools; Leslie Verslues, Helias High School in Jefferson City; Madlyn Maier, Russellville High School; Amy Kuebler, Michael Baepeler and Jamie Johnston, all of California High School; Sandy Letterman, Danny Stoelting, Charles Canfield, Douglas Starkey, all of Camdenton; and Gary Nevels of Linn State Technical College, Linn.

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