Friday, August 21, 2009

A Day in my Life


The alarm goes off at 4:00 am as I roll out of bed to hit the rain locker. Whether I need it or not, a shower wakes me up and gets me going. With a heavy beard, shaving consumes the most time with my morning routine. After getting dressed, it’s downstairs to pull my lunch together, toast a bagel and smear it with peanut butter, and make a cup of black coffee with one sugar for the road. I have a 30 minute drive to work, and a ten minute walk from the parking lot before I pass all the security checkpoints and badge into the control room. It usually takes about 20 minutes to walkdown the control board, review logs, check for compensation actions and tech spec entries, out of service equipment, deficiencies, and current plant status. The off going Shift Supervisor hands me the keys, and we sign the turnover sheet which means I’m now responsible for one of the most powerful nuclear reactors in the world. I brief my crew on plant status and work activities scheduled for our 12 hour shift. My licensed Control Board Operators and System Operators are the eyes and ears of the unit and are continuously monitoring plant parameters. They are very good at what they do. By the end of the shift, we feel the effects of being on our guard constantly with anticipating and responding to the scheduled activities while keeping priorities of nuclear and personnel safety a paramount – Never reducing the margin. By 6:00 pm I have my turnover sheet ready, admin issues resolved, reactivity sheet updated, and handing the keys over to my relief. By the time I get home it’s going on 7:00 pm and sitting down with my wife and kids to talk about their day and review school homework while we eat dinner together. By the time I change into my running gear and stretch, it’s going on 9:00 pm which only gives me about an hour to get my running in or weight training depending on my schedule. By 10:00 pm I’m saying my good night to my kids, talking to my wife about what’s on her plate for the next day, and taking another shower before hitting the rack myself. Then the alarm goes off at 4:00 am to start all over again.

3 comments:

Beth said...

Thanks for sharing what your day is like. Very interesting! I hope with the 12 hour shift that you only work a 4 day week. Sounds like you have a great schedule worked out for you and your family.

Rooster said...

That was interesting, thanks. Sounds like a tight schedule but it's seems that's to only method with when you have family, work and a big hobby. Good job living it and making it all happen with what seems like a great attitude. It's refreshing.

Thomas Bussiere said...

Beth – Thanks for stopping by. Your right, this is usually a 4 day work schedule except during refueling outages which becomes 5 to 6 day for about 5 weeks. Very demanding time which really challenges my ability to maintain my training schedule! I try and avoid races during this time unless I’m tapering.

Rooster – Thanks for your positive vibs – It helps when I start to lose perspective of why we do what we do. Yes, the schedule is tight, but I love knowing I’m getting all I can out of life and challenging my abilities. Every now and then I pull back to keep from falling over the edge, but the sights are worth going back to the edge again.