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Visiting the Harris Nuclear Plant

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By Amy Strecker, on June 4, 2010

Yesterday I had the opportunity to visit and tour the Harris Nuclear Plant in New Hill, NC – be sure to check out the video on this page.  Very few people are allowed inside the plant, and I was impressed by the multi-layer security clearances to get inside.  [Car check, badge check, explosive detector, metal detector, two turnstiles, ID check, then repeat the process to exit].

The cooling tower’s size was surprising to me – pictures don’t do it justice.  Before the RBC building was constructed, the Harris tower was the tallest structure in Wake County.  It takes service men over 45 minutes to climb the ladder and change the light bulbs!

Before starting my internship I knew nothing about nuclear energy, but I’m learning quickly.  I found the following diagram helpful in explaining how nuclear plants generate electricity. (Click on the image for a larger view).

The plant has two of its own communications specialists who also coordinate with the Raleigh-based communications team.  The site specialists work on both media relations and community relations.  During the school year, the facility hosts multiple school groups most days in the newly renovated visitor center.

After touring the plant, I spent yesterday afternoon in the field researching a story on a stream reclamation project on the site of a hydroelectric plant that had been dormant since the 1950s.  I’ll post details on this adventure next week.

*The views expressed on this blog posting are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer.

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2 Responses to “Visiting the Harris Nuclear Plant”

  1. Melvin M III

    Amy – Harris Nuclear Plant sounds interesting. Why does the plant have communications specialists? What sorts of community relation campaigns are the communication specialists completing?

  2. Amy Strecker

    Good questions. One of the specialists focuses on internal communications — so all things going on inside the plant, communication with employees, etc. The other does external communications/relations. She hosts all the student groups that come through the museum and makes any statements for external use. One of the big projects she’s recently worked on was revamping the on-site museum to further engage visitors to the plant.

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