Technical college introduces nuclear apprenticeship program

November 6, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear News
SRMC’s Dave Olson makes opening remarks to the new class of nuclear operator apprentices and faculty members at Denmark Technical College. (Photo: SRMC)

Eight new hires from Savannah River Mission Completion (SRMC) are taking part in the new Liquid Waste Nuclear Operator apprenticeship class at Denmark Technical College in Denmark, S.C. The goal of the class is to prepare SRMC’s new employees for positions at the Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site, in South Carolina.

SRMC, the liquid waste contractor at SRS, is collaborating on the new class with DTC and the Apprenticeship Carolina program, a statewide initiative that works to attract new companies to South Carolina and provide workforce solutions to ensure that employees stay and grow in their jobs.

The students in the liquid waste class who compose the first apprenticeship cohort are scheduled to complete it in April 2024.

The schooling: The new class is part of the DTC’s Nuclear Fundamentals certificate program, in which students take seven months of training with courses in chemistry, physics, engineering, and radiation fundamentals, completing two college-level classes in an abbreviated semester.

As part of related training, students participate in SRS’s regulatory courses, facility training, and other requirements. The apprentices attend two days of classes at technical college and work two days at SRS each week.

As operators, the workers are charged with keeping the liquid waste facility in safe working condition, including operating and monitoring equipment, taking readings, and adding chemicals when needed.

Quotes: "SRMC's liquid waste program has a longstanding history of providing wonderful career opportunities for our students and members of our community," said DTC president and chief executive officer Willie Todd Jr. "Having the liquid waste program participating in our nuclear fundamentals training elevates our relationship with SRMC while providing students a chance to obtain a meaningful career with pathways to economic mobility."

SRMC president and program manager Dave Olson added, “The apprentices will have the opportunity to move into operations positions that are a key component in our liquid waste program.”

Notes: SRMC and DTC have a signed memorandum of understanding for developing enhanced training in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), broadening the school's offerings and the opportunity for a career at SRS. The MOU is effective from July 1, 2023, to June 30, 2025, and can be renewed.

DTC is the only historically black technical college in South Carolina. It focuses on technical career training, associate degrees, and a four-year college transfer program.

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