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In a move that could put more than 250 Virginia nuclear power plant employees closer to a bachelor's degree, Old Dominion University and Dominion Energy signed an agreement Jan. 28 offering advanced standing toward a bachelor's degree in engineering technology for graduates of the company's Nuclear Control Room Operator Development Program.

Under the initiative, Dominion Energy employees who have completed the operator training program will receive 45 credits toward a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering technology, nuclear emphasis.

Dominion owns and operates two nuclear power stations in Virginia - the Surry Power Station in Surry County and the North Anna Power Station in Louisa County. Each station operates two three-loop Westinghouse pressurized water reactors. The two stations can generate enough electricity to light up about 450,000 homes.

"We welcome this opportunity to partner with such a forward-looking corporate citizen as Dominion Energy. This agreement represents another step in our ongoing efforts to serve our regional constituents," said William Swart, dean of the College of Engineering and Technology.

Dominion Energy's initial Control Room Operator Development Program is 39 months long and includes many hours of classwork, laboratory and simulator training. Additionally, the training program provides extensive on-the-job training at Dominion's nuclear power stations. After successfully completing initial training, operators progress to advanced training that leads to obtaining a U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) license to operate a nuclear reactor. After earning the NRC license, operators engage in continuing training to maintain that license, spending about a fifth of their time testing their skills in the classroom and on the control room simulator.

David A. Christian, Dominion Energy senior vice president-Nuclear Operations and Chief Nuclear Officer, said, "We are very pleased and proud that Old Dominion University has recognized the quality of our nuclear operator training program. Our performance-based program is rigorous, comprehensive and demonstrates our commitment to safe and reliable electric power operations. We greatly value our partnership with such a nationally recognized institution of higher education."

The Old Dominion-Dominion Energy agreement is based on another highly successful university program for the U.S. Navy's enlisted and officer nuclear power community. Old Dominion offers graduates of the Navy's Enlisted Nuclear Power School 42 credit hours of advanced standing toward bachelor's degrees in mechanical engineering technology and graduates of the Officer Nuclear Power School, including prototype, receive 12 credits toward all 13 master's degree programs in the college. For more information about the program, visit http://www.eng.odu.edu.

Dominion Energy is a subsidiary of Dominion [NYSE: D], headquartered in Richmond, Va. Dominion is one of the nation's largest producers of energy, with a production capability of more than 3 trillion British Thermal Units of energy per day. Its 22,000-megawatt generation portfolio is expected to grow to more than 28,000 megawatts by 2005. For more information about Dominion, visit the company's web site at http://www.dom.com.

This article was posted on: January 29, 2002

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