Source: EM Update | Vol. 11, Issue 26; Contributor: Mike Butler | July 9, 2019
Oak Ridge recently hosted the Millennial Nuclear Caucus, where Tommy Morgan, an early career professional, talked about his role leading a complex EM cleanup project.
Launched by Energy Secretary Rick Perry, the caucus regularly brings together innovatorsbetween the ages of 18 and 35 from across the country to discuss the future of nuclear energy and other topics across the nuclear field.
Morgan, an employee of Oak Ridge Office of EM cleanup contractor UCOR, is a fast-rising professional. A nuclear engineer by training, Morgan served as a reactor technical reviewer with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, gaining experience in safe reactor operations. Later, he worked at the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Watts Bar Nuclear Plant.
Morgan currently serves as project manager for the Molten Salt Reactor Experiment (MSRE) at DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory. For the past two and a half years, he has overseen work to prepare the 1960s-era research reactor for eventual deactivation and demolition.
“The Molten Salt Reactor Experiment started and finished before I was born,” he said. “It is a very rewarding feeling to know that I am part of giving this historic facility a respectful send-off after all of its contributions to the nuclear industry. I’m glad to be part of it.”
The work Morgan oversees, scheduled for completion next year, is minimizing maintenance costs, reducing risk of injury and radiation exposure to personnel, providing reliable electric service, upgrading key equipment, and enabling employees currently stationed at MSRE to move out of the facility.
MSRE operated from 1965 until 1969, earning a legacy as an innovative reactor technology concept. The experiment proved that a molten salt fueled reactor concept was viable for economical production of electricity.
Morgan gives his employer credit for trusting early career managers with important responsibilities.
“UCOR’s senior management, starting with our CEO Ken Rueter, value my energy and commitment to doing a good job, whatever the assignment,” Morgan said. “I am among a number of younger managers who have seen their responsibilities grow over the life of the UCOR contract.”