$100,000 gift from UT-Battelle to launch nuclear technology program at Roane State

UT-Battelle’s Jeff Smith presenting the check to RSCC President Chris Whaley

Roane State Community College today announced the launch of a Nuclear Technology Program with a $100,000 contribution from UT-Battelle, LLC, which manages and operates Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) for the US Department of Energy.

“There is no better place in the country to advance nuclear energy and technology than East Tennessee,” Roane State President Chris Whaley said. “This generous contribution will allow us to launch a program that will meet a need for skilled technicians for a variety of sites and industries.”

Funds from UT-Battelle will purchase instruments, sources, and tools for the college’s Nuclear Measurements Lab. Between 10 and 20 students are expected in the first class, which is set to begin Fall 2024.

UT-Battelle’s Jeff Smith and RSCC President Chris Whaley

Students will receive an associate degree or a certificate in Nuclear Technology and will be prepared for a broad range of activities such as medical isotopes, fissile material handling, waste handling and disposition, and support for companies and sites developing nuclear reactors and fuel.

“When companies talk about locating in Tennessee, at the top of their list is ‘workforce,’” said Jeff Smith, interim president and CEO of UT-Battelle and interim director of ORNL. “They want to know that if they come here, they’ll be able to find the employees they need.”

Smith announced UT-Battelle’s contribution today with Whaley at the Nuclear Opportunities Workshop at the Airport Hilton, and he encouraged the 200-plus attendees to seek ways they can help to build Tennessee’s nuclear workforce, too.

UT-Battelle’s Jeff Smith presenting the check to RSCC President Chris Whaley

The Roane State program provides hands-on experience typically unavailable until a graduate joins a company and begins job-specific training. The Nuclear Technology Program will include use of radiation instruments of various types, the response of detectors to differing types of radiation, capturing and processing data generated by these instruments to make relevant conclusions, and practical uses of these instruments in relevant jobs.

“This investment of resources is not only meaningful for us in the resources themselves, but also the expertise ORNL will provide to make sure the equipment is exactly what students need, exactly what they’ll see when they get out in the workplace,” Whaley said.

About Brad Jones

Brad is the Owner/Operator of BBB TV 12, and has been with the company since August of 1996. Brad is a 1987 graduate of Coalfield High School and a 1995 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Communications. He won the 1995 broadcast production student of the year award. Brad worked at Shop at Home, Inc. a home shopping network that was located in Knoxville, TN from 1993 - 1995 and then at Via TV (RSTV, Inc.) from 1995 - 1996. After some freelance work in Nashville, Brad joined the BBB Communications staff in August of 1996. A short stint at WVLT TV as a news photographer was in 2001, but he continued to work at BBB TV as well. Brad is married to Nicole Jenkins Jones, a 1990 graduate of Oak Ridge High School, who works at Oak Ridge Gastroenterology and Associates in Oak Ridge. They have 3 kids, Trevor Bogard, 27, Chandler 22, and Naomi 13. On December 12, 2013 they welcomed their first grandchild, Carter Ryan Bogard. Brad is also the assistant boys basketball coach at Coalfield High School for the past 11 years. In 2013-14 the Yellow Jackets won their first district title since 1991 and just the 4th in school history.

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