5 odd jobs help power your lights

5 odd jobs help power your lights

You might be surprised by these behind-the-scenes gigs at Duke Energy

Contamination cleaners: Buzzard droppings have been a long-standing cause of power outages. Bird poop can pile up on transmission lines and cause outages. Duke Energy’s Transmission team clears buildup and often installs guards to prevent the contamination from interfering with equipment.

Fish ear bone counters: Water resources scientists and technicians in a lab near Huntersville, N.C., microscopically examine fish ear bones to determine the fish’s age. The work assists the state wildlife commission’s research to manage fish population in Lake Norman by determining the age structure and growth of the lake’s fish.

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Duke Energy archivist Chris Hamrick shows a Weston AC and DC Ammeter from around 1937. An ammeter is used to measure the flow of electric current in a circuit.

Historians: Chris Hamrick, senior archivist, is part of the team that preserves an array of materials including images of Reddy Kilowatt, annual reports, artifacts, advertising and marketing materials, news releases, photographs and maps. The oldest document the team holds is a deed from the 1700s for land now used for the Mountain Island Hydro Station in Mecklenburg County, N.C.

Milk testers: Milk from cows living near nuclear stations is tested year-round. Tests each month measuring radioactivity ensure the milk is safe and the power plant is operating within regulatory requirements.

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Ball jugglers: At Catawba Nuclear Station in York, S.C., sponge balls move 8 feet per second through thousands of condenser tubes clearing deposits and ensuring a clean path. This cleaning system, known as the Amertap system, improves plant performance. The system pumps and circulates about 600 sponge balls at a time through a waterbox leading to 11,700 tubes of one single condenser tube bundle. 

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