A group of about 125 Scouts visited Fermi 2 on Saturday to get an up-close look at the science behind nuclear power.
Boy Scouts and Venturing Scouts from Indiana, Ohio and throughout Michigan — including about a dozen from Monroe County — were at the nuclear power plant for Nuclear Science Nova Day, where they had the opportunity to earn a Nuclear Science Merit Badge and the Splash! NOVA Award.
The day-long event included stops in the plant’s control room simulator — an exact replica of the plant’s main control room — dressing in special clothing used by workers in certain parts of the plant and various activities to learn about nuclear fission, used nuclear fuel and other aspects of how nuclear energy is produced.
Students also had the opportunity to learn about the many career options available in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields.
That’s what intrigued Nolan Pizzo, 12, a seventh grader from Monroe, who is considering a degree in mechanical engineering when he gets older. He said he’s earned about 13 to 15 merit badges, and was excited to earn the extra badges from the day at Fermi.
“I want to get into engineering and science when I’m older, so this is pretty cool,” he said. “I just wanted to learn more.”
Between building atoms of different elements (using toothpicks and marshmallows), visiting the plant’s two cooling towers and participating in a scavenger hunt in a mechanical training area, the students also had the opportunity to visit with employees at Fermi 2 to learn about the details of their jobs.
Emily Keel, a nuclear planning analyst at Fermi who organized the event, said the event is a great opportunity for community members to learn more information about nuclear technology.
“These students are the next engineers, the next nuclear technicians, the next operators who will be running power plants like Fermi 2,” Keel said. “It is a great opportunity to show them the many career options available to them if they get the right training and education.”
Jonah Roelant, 16, of Newport is pursuing a career as an engineering designer, and is currently enrolled in Monroe County’s Middle College. Among other things, he said it was interesting to learn about the safety systems at the plant and how the reactor generates energy.
“I find it really interesting to know a bit more about nuclear energy,” he said. “I just like learning about the world we live in so I can help build a better future.”