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Earning That Nuclear Science Merit Badge

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Limerick Generating Station's cooling towers

Nuclear reactions and flint-and-steel fires occupy opposite ends of the energy spectrum, but 100 Boy Scouts are getting a feel for both this summer, as they work on a nuclear science merit badge by visiting a New Jersey nuclear power plant.
As Lacey Patch reports, the experience involves a shift in Oyster Creek Generating Station’s mock-up control room:

“The control room is the brain and nerve center of the nuclear plant,” spokesperson Suzanne D’Ambrosio said, adding that Oyster Creek is the perfect place for the boys to earn their merit badge.
The equipment is connected to computers and Fleury is able to manipulate them so employees can be trained to deal with any situation that’s possible, not probable, he said. Operating crews train every five weeks to ensure that they maintain proficiency.
“I train them to a high level and make sure they don’t fail,” he said.
One of the highest-ranking boy scouts stepped up to the simulator and turned a switch, initiating a mimicked scram.
As an alarm went off, panels started to light up. Fleury explained that the computers are simply used for monitoring but the hundreds of switches control the plant. The nuclear operators monitor the situation to make sure the plant is responding as designed. If something is off, then they take action.

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