Knowledge on Display

(L.-r.) Site Performance Improvement Director Tim Steed and Rich Bologna listen as students explain differences in uranium and plutonium, using chess pieces created with a 3-D printer.

April 12, 2018

On Tuesday, March 27, students from Blackhawk and Mohawk school districts returned to Beaver Valley to present the results of their student projects, as a follow-up to a site visit last month.

The high school juniors and senior made presentations to the Beaver Valley staff, some of whom formally judged the work.

Students were asked to address a hypothetical situation in which an energy company was considering building a nuclear power plant in a nearby community. Students could select their own topic for presentation – topics ranged from informational slide shows regarding different types of reactors to fission versus fusion to energy conservation.

One bold team, Eric Scanlon and Madeline Dunlap, tackled the “other side” of nuclear power generation, providing a detailed discussion opposing the establishment of a plant. Asked about why they selected this topic, Eric said he feels it’s important to understand all sides of an issue and to gather as many facts as possible. There also were presentations focusing on the positive aspects of nuclear power, including the economic and environmental benefits.

The annual event is part of an initiative called “Student Provided Solutions,” coordinated through the Consortium for Public Education in Pennsylvania. “This is such a rewarding effort in many ways,” said Robert Puskas, a Blackhawk High School teacher. “The kids are pushed to challenge themselves.”

Beaver Valley staff had a large presence at the event. Site Vice President Rich Bologna was happy with the turnout and the engagement of site personnel. “We’re part of this community, so demonstrating our support for the kids, and the work on the behalf of the schools, is important.”