Chattanooga State Community College trains TVA nuclear operators

Chattanooga State Community College trains TVA nuclear operators

May 21st, 2015 by Staff Report in Business Around the Region

The cooling towers of TVA's Watts Bar nuclear plant are seen Wednesday, April 29, 2015, in Spring City, Tenn. TVA plans for the nuclear plant's second reactor unit to come online by the end of the year.

Photo by Doug Strickland /Times Free Press.

The inaugural class of nuclear professionals from the Tennessee Valley Authority began training this week in a new workforce development program offered by Chattanooga State Community College.

The students will complete a 20-week program to achieve a Senior Reactor Operator (SRO) Management Certification. A state grant of $960,550 provided in 2013 funded equipment for the college's new nuclear plant stimulation lab and an expansion of its advanced mechatronics program.

"The new SRO Certification program gives Chattanooga State a superb opportunity to showcase what we can do to build the skills and knowledge that nuclear power employees need to prepare for the industry's future," said Tim McGhee, engineering dean at Chattanooga State.

To supplement its new simulator, Chattanooga State has brought in new full-time and adjunct faculty drawn from the nuclear power industry to ensure the SRO Certification program focuses on real-world applications.

"While individuals who hold SRO Management Certification are not licensed to operate a plant, the program provides an in-depth understanding of the technical requirements needed for safe reliable operation," said Brian Finn, TVA Nuclear general manager of training.