CHATANOOGA, TN (Story via Tennessee Valley Authority, in cooperation with Chattanooga State Community College and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, has developed an associate degree program in nondestructive testing that will graduate students and provide them the opportunity for national certification making them ready to perform inspections and testing for multiple industries including TVA's nuclear power plants.

"The American Society of Mechanical Engineers has safety and inspection codes that must be followed telling us what materials to use when building specific equipment, how to perform the welding necessary and then how to inspect this equipment to keep it in good working order," said Mike Turnbow, general manager of TVA's Inspection and Testing Services. "What TVA needed were those skilled people to perform the inspections and certify that our equipment was working as intended," added Turnbow.

Turnbow, other TVA volunteers and local inspection service providers helped write the new course at the same time they taught the first students at the Chattanooga State campus after working-hours. "Our first two students graduated this year with their associate degree and TVA now has five interns learning the work they would do in our plants as they move toward graduation," said Turnbow. "We are excited to help move this field forward by offering students the capabilities needed at the same time they get a chance for high paying jobs."

TVA began working on this program with Chattanooga State three years ago when TVA committed to ASME assistance in helping them build a national examination and certification program. The program certifies that these and other graduates are capable of inspecting essential equipment in industries and power plants nation-wide.