Athens, OH 23 September 2019 –
Over the summer, I got the opportunity to work at Fluor-BWXT in Portsmouth, Ohio as a design engineering intern. When I first arrived at the plant, I was amazed at the history and size of it. Until 1991, the site was a gaseous diffusion plant used to enrich uranium for military and commercial purposes. Now, the plant’s main operation is decommissioning and cleaning up the site.
Since I have only worked in research prior to this opportunity, working as a design engineer and working in the industry were both new experiences for me, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I started.
The first thing I learned at the plant is that safety is the top priority. In my first few weeks at the plant, I went through radiological worker training, electrical Lock Out Tag Out training where we learned how to properly lock out hazardous energy sources, harness training, and a few others. After all my training was completed, I was given projects right away and got to experience what it was like to be a design engineer.
In the three months I interned at the plant, I got to work with other engineers on several projects around the plant. I worked on power calculations, installing a plotter, replacing a water heater from a one-phase to a three-phase heater, and multiple other smaller projects. After completing many design documentation packages, I learned that with the enjoyable engineering work, paperwork usually follows.
Besides gaining experience in the power field, I became great friends with the other interns and got to explore Portsmouth, Ohio with them. I went to my first dairy bar (shown below), saw the Portsmouth floodwall murals, and learned some southern Ohio jargon.
Although at first, I was nervous being in such a new environment, working at the plant was a great and enjoyable experience that I’ll never forget.