Women In Nuclear Conference Held In Chattanooga

Friday, February 10, 2017
Conference vendor Jay Frankhouser of C&D Technologies, Inc., left, discusses product innovations with student Jenny Baglio and TVA’s Brady Queen-Peden
Conference vendor Jay Frankhouser of C&D Technologies, Inc., left, discusses product innovations with student Jenny Baglio and TVA’s Brady Queen-Peden

The maze of pipes and valves of the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Browns Ferry Nuclear plant is a world away from an airplane cabin where Brady Queen-Peden started her professional career as a flight attendant in the 1980s. But her amazing career trajectory took her from helping air travelers to ensuring the safety and soundness of nuclear energy equipment that helps generate electricity for millions of people in the Tennessee Valley.

Success stories like Ms. Peden’s circulate faster than cooling water in a reactor at the 2017 Region II Southeast Regional Women in Nuclear Conference, hosted by TVA this year in Chattanooga, Tenn.

“It's an interesting ride to reinvent yourself,” said Ms. Peden, who held a career in marketing before returning to college and landing at TVA’s Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant in 2003.

Safety lessons learned at 35,000 feet apply directly to Ms. Peden’s current position as one of two nuclear surveillance [equipment test] coordinators at Browns Ferry. She helps ensure the plant’s equipment is continually tested and that it always operates as designed. Missing even one test on the day and time is "unacceptable," Ms. Peden said.

As a chairperson for Browns Ferry's Women in Nuclear (WIN) chapter, Ms. Peden’s mission is outreach. “When people hear the word nuclear they seem to panic,” she said. She changes that mindset by working with hundreds of young women to educate them about careers in the nuclear industry. She helps them to realize that all careers at TVA Nuclear and the nuclear industry in general are open to women—and that positions include administration, communications, engineering, finance, IT, medical, maintenance, plant operators, technical trades and more.

“Maintaining a willingness to learn is key,” Ms. Peden said. “There are jobs for women in all applications of nuclear science and technology.”

The nuclear industry employees about 100,000 people in the United States; however, a very small percentage of them are women. WIN wants to increase awareness among women that the nuclear career door is open to them. This year the WIN conference is bringing together over 250 female nuclear industry employees and nuclear engineering students from around the southeast who want recruit new “sisters” into their nuclear family.  

Jenny Baglio, a nuclear engineering major at North Carolina State University and first time WIN attendee, wants to network and meet the women who in a few short months will become her peers.

“I don’t think it has fully hit yet,” said Ms. Baglio, who is a senior. “I’m going to be around these people for the rest of my career.”

Ms. Baglio, who grew up in Houston, recently accepted a nuclear engineering position at GE-Hitachi, in Wilmington N.C. She chose an engineering career because “I really wanted to do something for the world. I could not see a major that was as active in everyone’s lives as engineering. I think it is the easiest way to touch on multiple lives in a positive way.”

Ms. Baglio is just the type of woman WIN wants to attract into the industry. “I would like to be in the forefront of nuclear technologies. I want to be part of the first economic simplified boiling water reactor that is going to go online in the future. I’m very hopeful that it will happen in my lifetime.”

At WIN conferences around the county participants learn about just such new industry trends, network with each other and share their experiences to with the hope to achieve “critical mass” by inspiring young ladies to choose STEM careers that may lead directly to the nuclear industry.

“TVA is proud to be a part of this conference,” said Beth Jenkins, TVA Watts Bar director, Plant Support. “TVA fully supports WIN’s mission to inspire young women to choose STEM careers and break all barriers before them.”


Tennessee Regulatory Authority Changes Name To Tennessee Public Utility Commission

Governor Haslam and the Tennessee General Assembly approved legislation this month that changes the name of the Tennessee Regulatory Authority (TRA) to the Tennessee Public Utility Commission (TPUC). The bill was sponsored by State Senator, Jack Johnson and State Representative, Pat Marsh during the 2017 Tennessee General Assembly’s legislative session and it became effective ... (click for more)

Tennessee Tax Revenue For March Released

Department of Finance and Administration Commissioner Larry Martin announced Monday that Tennessee tax revenue fell short of budgeted estimates in March. March sales tax revenues reflect retail activity occurring in February, and overall March revenues were $993.6 million, which is $100.9 million less than we collected in March of 2016 and $70.1 million less than the budgeted estimate ... (click for more)

Erlanger Has Surge In Revenue; Admissions Up Over 12%

Erlanger Health System reported substantial growth in revenue and effective cost management for the third quarter. Net income from operations of $8.5 million exceeded prior year by $7 million and also exceeded budget by $1.3 million.    The health system had an 8.8 percent increase in total net revenue. Officials said the quarter generated strong EBITDA (e arnings ... (click for more)

Former County Jailer Pleads "No Contest" In Cancer Faking Case

A former Hamilton County corrections officer pleaded no contest on Monday to charges that he got time off from work and donations from co-workers after he faked having cancer. Dale Daniel was granted diversion through an agreement with the district attorney's office. The charges will go off his record if he does not get into any further trouble for a year. Daniel will have ... (click for more)

Don't Clog Up The Last Remaining Semi-Unobstructed Route Into Town From North Of The River

The proposal to turn Hixson Pike in Riverview into a more pedestrian friendly street is more than absurd.   Let's be honest. This is the last semi-unobstructed route into town from north of the river, due to I-27 construction and the bike lane/parking lot that is North Market Street.  So, now the businesses in Riverview would like parking on this main artery? ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: New Orleans Slaps History

It was balmy and relatively quiet on Sunday afternoon in New Orleans. The flowers of spring were in full flush on Canal Street and, as darkness began to cloak the city, no one was aware that a cadre of police snipers was quietly setting up in a hotel parking garage across from the Liberty Place monument. Shortly after 1 a.m. yesterday morning, a number of large trucks rumbled past ... (click for more)