By Brian Bullock
In recognition of Nuclear Science Week (Oct. 19-23), PG&E’s Diablo Canyon Power Plant spotlights Will Landreth and how he gives back to the community by teaching children about nuclear energy.
Will Landreth is a procurement engineer at Diablo Canyon Power Plant who also happens to be pretty good at stand-up comedy. He combined those talents when he visited Ocean View Elementary School in Arroyo Grande this week to teach children about nuclear power and how it benefits them, their schools and the environment.
Landreth took his message to school this week as part of Nuclear Science Week. The National Museum of Nuclear Science and History developed Nuclear Science Week in 2009 to raise public awareness about nuclear science and celebrate its achievements.
In his presentation, Landreth used balloons, pinwheels, bouncing balls and the nonstop energy of a father of two young children, to explain the basics about how nuclear power generates the electricity that runs basic necessities, like refrigerators, computers and televisions.
“Being an engineer is cool and a lot of fun,” Landreth said. “Knowing what I do directly impacts every person who uses electricity and all that it provides brings me a lot of personal satisfaction. Taking that a step further, I wholeheartedly believe that nuclear power is critical to combat climate change, and serves as the backbone for a clean energy future in California.”
Landreth is one of PG&E’s many engineers working in the company’s 70,000-square-mile service area. Although his job is vitally important — ensuring that all of the replacement equipment purchased by Diablo Canyon meets and exceeds the original design and licensing basis, including pumps, valves, piping, fans and more — he enjoys educating anyone who wants to listen, especially young students.
Last year, the jovial Landreth took his show to area schools during National Engineers Week teaching fourth- and fifth-grade students about energy and electricity. Every time he ventures out into the community, his focus is to not only educate the kids on how their electricity is generated — Diablo Canyon accounts for nearly 10 percent of all electricity produced in in the state — he aims to get them interested in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education.
PG&E continues that focus on STEM education at the high school level sponsoring Energy Academies at five high schools throughout its service area from Arroyo Grande to Sacramento. The academies provide on-campus training programs and off-site internships that allow students to develop both personal and job skills they can use to either further their education or take directly into the workforce.
Landreth just likes sharing his knowledge with the children who, as a result of his presentation, might someday work in the industry.
“Engineering begins with knowledge and education. I share my passion for engineering by explaining how things work to anyone who would enjoy learning about it,” he said.
In addition to teaching area school children about nuclear energy, Landreth is involved in Leadership SLO which is provided through the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce. On Oct. 9, Landreth and 34 of his classmates graduated from the 24th class of the Leadership SLO program.
Email Currents at Currents@pge.com.