Damian Ream: Summer Intern Experience at Dominion Energy

by Marcus Stewart on October 12, 2017

Over the summer, Damian Ream, ’18, had the opportunity to work with Dominion Energy in Surry, Virginia. Damian was an intern at the Physics department in Dominion Energy’s Surry Nuclear Power Station.

“The purpose of the health physics department is to analyze nuclear samples taken from the plant to ensure nothing harmful is leaving the power plant, and more importantly, to make sure plant workers are working safely and not receiving larger doses of radiation than what is expected or allowable”.

Damian worked under his supervisor Paul Harris, but also was able to work with full time health physics technicians and students from other colleges.

“I learned a lot about how nuclear energy works and what goes into maintaining and running a power plant. I also was able to take a trip to Dominion Energy’s clearing house where they sell their energy and also look for new business endeavors. I obtained valuable insight on the nuclear industry and was able to further learn and shape my goals for the future”.

Damian’s favorite part about working at the nuclear power station was being able to research some of the new technologies that the power plant has available.

“The most interesting part to me was potentially using drones to check certain plant conditions. One condition in particular was checking the structure and integrity of the containment building using thermal imaging to see where repairs may need to be made. Ultimately it was determined that it was a technology not needed at this time, as it would require a licensed drone pilot due to the fact that it would be used by a corporation for business purposes. That licensing process would cost time and money, and then the drone would only be able to be flown by those few individuals who actually got licensed”.

To anyone considering doing research or an internship, Damian’s advice is to apply to any program or project that interests you.

“Even if you feel you may not be qualified, apply anyways. There were a few interns I worked with from different departments who weren’t chosen for the department they applied for, but their internship application was actually forwarded to another department that ended up hiring them as an intern. Apply even if you’re not sure if you’d be interested in it. I think that’s all part of the internship experience. If you find you like it, that’s great! Dominion Energy is one of the many companies that often offer their interns full-time jobs out of college. If you find you don’t like it then that’s still good. You’ve gained some valuable internship experience, and you just decided a career path you’re not interested in rather than trying to pursue it post-graduation and deciding then”.

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