Piketon, Ohio ̶ The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) welcomed about 900 high school juniors and educators for its third annual Science Alliance, a science fair that took place September 25-26, 2012, at the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant.
Students from 20 regional high schools were provided demonstrations related to science, technology, engineering and math, and also received information about careers associated with those fields and the Portsmouth facility. A driving tour around the plant’s Perimeter Road was also part of the activities.
“We wanted to make this event educational, but we also wanted to make it fun for the students in order to prompt their engagement. We also wanted to demystify the secrecy, safety and security concerns associated with past operations by allowing students to see first-hand the kinds of activities we have performed for over fifty years. By all accounts, we were able to accomplish both goals,” said Dr. Vincent Adams, the plant’s site director. “We strongly believe this event makes students aware of the professional opportunities that exist in these areas of science and educates them on how these fields affect their everyday lives.”
Grace Lilly, a junior at Waverly High School, summed up her reaction to the event saying, “They did an excellent job in organizing this. The short presentations kept our interest,
the presenters made it fun, we liked the cookies and snacks, and we all learned about the plant.”
Representatives from the Site-Specific Advisory Board, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and regional universities joined DOE prime contractors (Fluor-B&W Portsmouth, Restoration Services, Inc., Wastren-EnergX Mission Support, United States Enrichment Corporation, B&W Conversion Services) in operating the demonstration areas. Those activities included information on the plant, recycling and waste disposition, earthquakes, emergency preparedness, interactive games, communications, and much more.
“The department is very proud of the Science Alliance, which is one of the ways we outreach to the community,” Dr. Adams said. “We hope the educators and students enjoyed the experience and we sincerely appreciate their participation.”