My job rocks
TVA employees are on the job 24/7, keeping the lights on, running the river system, managing TVA lands and supporting TVA’s operations. In this column, you’ll hear from TVA employees who can say, “My job rocks!”
Chemistry Radio-Chemical Laboratory analyst, Watts Bar Nuclear Plant
Lindsey Bayles, 23, graduated in December from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, with a bachelor of science degree in microbiology and a minor in chemistry. In October, before graduation, she got on the TVA Web site, found a chemistry-related job, applied and got an acceptance letter at the end of January. She started at Watts Bar Nuclear Plant on March 2.
“I love it,” Bayles says. “I get to do something that nobody else gets to do – see the inside of the nuclear industry. There are really good people, and it’s never the same thing from one day to another.”
Chemistry technicians maintain plant-system water chemistry to maximize the lifespan of the equipment. “We monitor reactor plant water chemistry to ensure that we keep our workers safe. We monitor radioactive effluent streams, perform environmental monitoring and sampling, and maintain analytical instruments. Chemistry is involved in many plant processes, from monitoring the fission process to ensuring our plant does not harm the environment.
“I just always really enjoyed science, and that’s what I get to do every day.”
Bayles’s aptitude for chemistry is understandable. Her dad, Danny Bayles, is a shift lead in the chemical department at Sequoyah Nuclear Plant. Lindsey Bayles started her academic training in science at Chattanooga’s Notre Dame High School, where she also was heavily involved in theater. She played a screaming teenager in Bye, Bye Birdie and the lead, Beverly, in Shadow Box, among other roles.
Bayles is one of five Rad-Chem techs starting their two years of Rad-Chem training. “We’re through the first three qualification cards,” says Bayles. “You’ve got to think and be on your toes all the time. When we take a sample and it’s out of its normal limits, it could be any number of things. It could be a human-performance error, corrosion in a pipe, a mistake on our part, or it could be a problem. You have to learn how to figure it out. Our job is to keep errors down and keep everybody safe.”