WATERFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Set along the coastline of Waterford, the Millstone Nuclear power station employs over a thousand workers.
It’s home to the only two active nuclear power reactors in the state of Connecticut.
Enclosed in a well-protected, thick concrete containment unit, nuclear fission is created with the help of uranium pellets…the size of small pebbles.
“There is about half a million pellets inside the building right now helping us to make electricity,” said Michael Connor, Manager of Nuclear Operations at Millstone.
Each pellet packs a head spinning amount of power.
“You could equate that to one ton of coal,” said Connor.
Water from the Long Island sound is critical to the process.
The reactor makes heat, transferred to huge generators, producing steam used in the massive turbines that is turned into electricity.
“We produce the equivalent of 60 percent of what Connecticut uses per year,” said Ken Holt, Manager of Communications at Millstone Power Station.
That makes Millstone the largest generating station in New England.
Producing all that power, people.
Chris Chatman’s team has the watch.
“We come in through a lot of different teams. Allot of guys are ex-Navy,” said Chris Chatman, Shift Manager at the Millstone Power Station
Training is thorough, walking through various emergency scenarios.
“We take our jobs very seriously, stay alert, practice,” said Chatman.
The future of nuclear energy is facing challenges.
Competition from a growing solar market and low cast natural gas is pushing Millstone towards try and sell its energy in a more direct way.
“Right now the Connecticut legislators are looking at legislation that would enable us to sell to the utilities,” said Holt.
Right now power is bought and sold, full of third party mark-ups along the way.
“We want to cut out that middle man and enable consumers to benefit from that reduction in price,” said Holt.
And provide what Connecticut are looking for, safe and affordable energy options.