HARTSVILLE, S.C. (WBTW) – Each year, the Duke Energy Robinson Nuclear plant near Hartsville selects one local school for its school improvements project.
Students of Carolina Elementary can look forward to a safer environment this school year. Duke energy spokesperson Charles Ellison, explains why the plant hopes to improve safety for students in one day.
“One of the hallmarks of nuclear energy is safety, it’s really important for us to not only practice that at the plant but also practice that in the community, “said Ellison.
School official’s biggest safety concerns were the playground and the bus loading area.
Ellison explained, “Putting out mulch on the playground…it goes under the playground equipment to soften any potential falls.”
Radiation Protection Manager, Chuck Sherman said the bus dock was one of the more dangerous areas because it is prone to flooding, which is especially unsafe during the winter months.
Sherman said, “We actually were able to re-grate it, put in some stones to bring it up. So if you do get water or if it freezes– it’s a rough surface so it’s not as slick.”
More than 70 volunteers from the plant took on a long list of other improvements including a compost area, new picnic tables and a garden box.
They also painted classrooms that had chipped paint.
“Kids are rough on any environment regardless of the upkeep.” Ellison adds, “Something like a fresh coat of paint can really make a difference in a room. That’s what we wanted to provide for the children, it shows that we are committed to their future.”
Volunteers say this is one way to give back to the community they serve.
“We feel it’s important to give back to the community, understand it’s a relationship between the plant, duke energy and the people that surround it and allow us to operate there.” Sherman adds, “My job is not a hand’s on job. But I was raised on a small farm. This is how I was raised taking care of the land building stuff. Taking care of machinery, things like that. So this is my stress relief. It allows me to give back but also know that I am making a difference.”
Carolina Elementary, Principal Donna Barrett said she’s grateful for the new safety measures and features.