NR&C Vol 24, No. 4 (NUREG/BR-0066) - March 30, 2008
In This Issue :
- Around the Agency
- Around Headquarters
- Comings and Goings
- Employees of the Month
- EWRA News/Travel
- Mark the Date
- NR&C's New Look
- NRC People
- RideSharing Report
- Retiree Notes
Around the Agency
The Regulatory Information Conference last week was a big success, attracting a large and varied audience to the 20th annual event.
The conference, the industry's largest gathering of nuclear industry professionals, was held last Tuesday through Thursday at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel and Conference Center, across Rockville Pike from Headquarters. The theme of this year's conference was Enhancing Safety During the Global Nuclear Renaissance. Those attending included representatives from more than 25 foreign countries, Congressional staffs, and members of the public. The conference was hosted by the Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation and the Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research.
Chairman Dale Klein, Commissioner Gregory Jaczko, and Commissioner Peter Lyons all spoke to conference plenary sessions. You can access their speeches at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/commission/speeches/2008/.
Others who spoke included Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, who spoke to a plenary session, and James Ellis, president and Chief Executive Officer of the Institute for Nuclear Power, who spoke at the annual industry luncheon.
A highlight of the Conference was the announcement by Chairman Klein of the establishment of a special agency award honoring the late Commissioner Edward McGaffigan. The award is a one-time career tribute that will be given to a man or woman, NRC employee or recent retiree, "who demonstrates an extraordinary commitment to public service and exemplifies the integrity, professional dedication, and moral character that Ed exhibited."
Commissioner McGaffigan died last fall, after a long battle with melanoma. He was 58 years old. Commissioner McGaffigan was originally appointed to the Commission by President William Clinton in 1996, he was reappointed by President Clinton in 2000, and in 2005 President George Bush appointed him for an unprecedented third term. On November 3, 2006, he became the Commission's longest serving member, and on December 8, 2006, he marked 10 years of service to the NRC.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is receiving applications for new reactors and design approval for new reactor technology at a rate that would have seemed impossible just a few years ago.
As of the end of February, the agency had received seven Combined License applications to construct and operate a total of eleven new units.
In addition, the agency also was reviewing four Design Certification applications, had already approved four others, and was awaiting three more.
To support all of this effort, as well as continuing its broader mission of protecting the public and the environment, the agency budget request for the next fiscal year has topped a billion dollars, the first time an agency budget request had reached this mark.
Combined License Applications
The Combined License applications received to date are Bellefonte, to build Units 3 and 4, at the Bellefonte site near Scottsboro in Jackson County in Northern Alabama; Calvert Cliffs, to build Unit 3, at the Calvert Cliffs site in Lusby, Maryland; Grand Gulf to build Unit 3, at the Grand Gulf site in Mississippi; North Anna Unit 3, at the North Anna site in Louisa, Virginia; Shearon Harris Units 2 and 3, at the Shearon Harris site near New Hill, North Carolina; South Texas Project Unit 3, at the South Texas site in Matagorda County, Texas; and William States Lee Units 1 and 2, near Charlotte in Cherokee County, South Carolina.
Bellefonte, Lee, and Shearon Harris would use the Westinghouse Advanced Plant 1000 design; Calvert Cliffs would use the Areva U. S. Evolutionary Power Reactor design; North Anna wand Grand Gulf would use the GE Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor design; and South Texas would use the GE Advanced Boiling Water Reactor design. The agency expects to receive an additional fifteen Combined License applications this year.
The NRC has already certified four reactor designs: General Electric's Advanced Boiling Water Reactor; Westinghouse System 80+ design; Westinghouse AP600; and Westinghouse AP1000. The staff is currently reviewing Design Certification applications for an amended AP1000; GE's Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor; AREVA's U.S. Evolutionary Power Reactor; and Mitsubishi's US-Advanced Pressurized Water Reactor. In addition, the agency may receive Design Certification applications for the Advanced CANDU Reactor from the Atomic Energy of Canada; the Westinghouse International Reactor Innovative and Secure; and the Pebble Bed Modular Reactor.
When the NRC certifies a design, a company submitting a Combined License application can choose to use that design and reference it in the application. Safety issues that were resolved during the Design Certification process are not subject to litigation with respect to that individual license application, although site-specific design information and environmental impacts associated with building and operating the plant at a particular location could be litigated.
Early Site Permit Process
The NRC has also established an Early Site Permit process, which allows prospective Combined License applications to request site approval in advance. The NRC review of the Early Site Permit application addresses site safety issues, environmental protection issues, and emergency plans, and if the permit is issued, it too can be referenced in the Combined License application. To date, the NRC has approved early site permits for the North Anna site, as well as for the Clinton site in Illinois and the Grand Gulf site in Mississippi. The staff is currently reviewing the Early Site Permit application for the Vogtle site in Georgia.
The NRC's proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2009 requests $1.02 billion, including $786.6 million for nuclear reactor safety, $221.3 million for nuclear materials and waste safety (including $37.3 million for the high-level waste repository at Yucca Mountain), and $9 million for the Inspector General. The proposed budget represents a $90.9-million increase over the FY 2008 budget for enhanced regulatory activities driven primarily by continued industry interest in constructing new nuclear facilities and increased oversight of existing reactors, materials, and waste licensing.
In addition to oversight of the existing 104 power reactors, 33 test and research reactors, 20 fuel facilities, and nuclear materials, the agency expects to review 21 applications for uranium recovery operations.
By law, the NRC recovers approximately 90 percent of its budget from user fees, less an appropriation from the Nuclear Waste Fund and other activities that are not fee recoverable. The FY 2009 budget request would be financed with $855.5 million from user fees, $37.3 million from the Nuclear Waste Fund, and $124.2 million from the General Fund.
To accommodate the unprecedented growth in the size of the Headquarters staff, the agency soon will be spread over six buildings in the Bethesda-Rockville area.
The moves to the buildings outside the main complex at White Flint North are designed to be temporary, only until the agency can acquire a large building in close proximity (walking distance) of White Flint. Late 2010 has been set as the target date for employees to begin to move into that new building.
Headquarters staff members are already working at the Bethesda Gateway Building and the Executive Boulevard Building, and moves to the Church Street Building and the Twinbrook Building in Rockville are well into the planning stages.
The first headquarters component to move was the Professional Development Center, a part of the Office of Human Resources, which moved to the Bethesda Gateway Building in October 2006. Then in May 2007, most of the rest of the staff of the Office of Human Resources also moved there, with primarily only those assigned to Office service teams and other special teams remaining at White Flint.
The Bethesda Gateway Building is located at 7201 Wisconsin Avenue, three blocks form the Bethesda Metrorail station.
Executive Boulevard Building
When the move of the Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards to the Executive Boulevard Building in Rockville was completed in June 2007, it was the first time in more than a decade that all of the office had been in the same building.
The first move of 71 NMSS employees to Executive Boulevard took place in March, with the remaining 150 moving in June. Since the Spent Fuel Project Office was formed in the summer of 1995, NMSS staffers were divided between One and Two White Flint North, but now they are together again at 6003 Executive Boulevard.
Church Street Building
The Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research will be moving to interim space at 21 Church Street in Rockville. This new building is adjacent to the Rockville Metro station, about half a block from Rockville Pike. NRC will occupy approximately 64,000 usable square feet of office space on floors 2 through 6 of the six-story building late this summer.
Selected components of the Office of Administration will move to the 1st and 5th floors of the building at 12300 Twinbrook Parkway. The components moving there include the Office of the Office Director and his staff; the Division of Contracts; the Division of Facilities and Security, including the Division Director and Division-level staff, the Personnel Security Branch, and the Space Planning and Property Management Branch, except for the Property Team; and the Division of Administrative Services, Rulemaking, Directives, and Editing Branch.
Other ADM organizations, including the Administrative Services Center, will remain in the White Flint Complex.
The Twinbrook Building is adjacent to Rockville Pike, about one-and-a-half blocks from the Twinbrook Metro Station.
To facilitate employees' movements between buildings, the agency has established a shuttle service that is currently going from White Flint to the Executive Boulevard Building and the Bethesda Gateway Building. The shuttle begins operations at 6:30 a.m. weekdays (except Federal holidays) and continues through 6:40 p.m. It does not operate between 11:40 a.m. and 12:40 p.m. to allow time for the driver's lunch and refueling the vehicle.
The contractor responsible for the interior of the Executive Boulevard Building has been honored for that work. Forrester Construction Company of Rockville has received an Excellence in Construction Award from the Metro Washington and Virginia Chapters of Associated Builders and Contractors.
The Executive Boulevard space features updated systems furniture and frosted glass for enclosed offices, which allows daylight to filter to the interior floor space. The large and medium conference rooms have multimedia capability for viewing using VTC, DVD, and laptop computers.
The Forrester firm was also honored for its work on the new Central restaurant in downtown DC and for refurbishing Mazza Gallerie at Friendship Heights.
To accommodate agency growth and address the Headquarters space shortage, ADM has issued short-term space planning guidelines.
As necessary, ADM will continue to build offices in conference rooms for new hires and use the Commission conference room, the auditorium, and off-site conference facilities as necessary for large meetings. New build-outs may be kept relatively simple to speed completion and provide occupancy flexibility. New contractor personnel will not be provided space at White Flint unless they can submit compelling justification; ADM will build out offices wherever space is available, unless the adverse impact on the affected office outweighs the benefits of adding workstations. Some employees may be temporarily placed in office space that does not meet office size or location standards for their grade. While office reconfigurations will not be considered unless they result in additional workstations or are needed to address a safety/security issue, workstation modifications will be completed as required to accommodate employees with disabilities.
Comings and Goings
Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards: Myron Hecht, consultant; Guita Irani, IT specialist; Allen Pierce, consultant.
Atomic Safety and Licensing Board Panel: Gary Arnold, administrative judge (consultant); Mark Barnett, administrative judge; William Froelich, administrative judge; Michael Garcia, administrative judge (consultant); Thomas Hirons, member; Michael Kennedy, administrative judge; Robert Mathews, administrative judge.
Office of Administration: Daniel App, contract specialist; Theresa Barczy, policy analyst; Barbara Blount, printing specialist; Mike Carnes, mail services assistant; Greg Flores, personnel security specialist; Clarence Jenkins, storage and distribution management specialist; Brittney Washington, student clerk.
Office of the Chief Financial Officer: Yvette Michelle Abigail, accountant/systems accountant; Phuong-Anh Do, accountant/systems accountant; Kevin Jenkins, student financial management analyst (co-op); Gita Patel, fiscal accounting assistant; Emil Tabakov, budget analyst/program analyst.
Office of Congressional Affairs: Eugene Dacus, senior Congressional Federal and external affairs officer; Rachel Lontchar, protocol specialist.
Office of Federal and State Materials and Environmental Programs: Shanna Halbritter, secretary; Thomas Hill, consultant; Kenneth Kline, project manager; Sophie Le, student scientist (co-op); Robert MacDougall, project manager; Mary Moshier, secretary; Behram Shroff, project manager; Bruce Thomadsen, member, Advisory Committee on Medical Uses of Isotopes.
Office of the General Counsel: Daniel Lenehan, attorney; Kia Mullins, secretary; Robert Rader, senior attorney; Lynn Ronewicz, secretary.
Office of Human Resources: Gilliam Martin, human resources team leader; Sandra Rodriguez, secretary; Susan Salter, human resources recruitment; Barbara Schmidt, human resources specialist; Madonna Watson, human resources specialist; Lisa Williams, human resources assistant.
Office of Information Services: Kristen Benney, information management analyst; Thomas Boyce, Director/Deputy Chief Information Officer; Paul Ricketts, senior IT security officer; Rebecca Robinson, student IT specialist (co-op); Anthony Tse, senior management analyst; Gregory Trussel, team leader; Lillian Yeh, IT specialist.
Office of the Inspector General: Yvette Marby, management analyst/auditor; Timothy Wilson, management analyst.
Office of International Programs: Rita Hoskins, senior program assistant.
Office of Investigations: James Fitzgerald, consultant; Adam Kalkman, student clerk (Region III).
Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards: Ronald Burrows, project manager; Sara Culler, secretary; Anthony Dipalo, project manager; Matthew Gordon, materials engineer; Haile Lindsay, thermal engineer; Earl Love, safety engineer; Jonathan Marccano, civil engineer; Christopher Staab, project manager; Stephen Self, senior volcanologist; Richard Thompson, export/import licensing analyst.
Office of New Reactors: Harvey Abelson, project manager; Alemu Bezakula, IT specialist; David Ball, reactor engineer; Richard Branch, reactor systems engineer; Philip Brandt, project manager; Hermando Candra, structural engineer; Manas Chakravorty, senior structural engineer; Phyllis Clark, project manager; Richard Clement, health physicist; James Davis, senior materials engineer; Scarlett Dunn, secretary; John Fringer, environmental project manager; Vladimir Grazier, geophysicist; Elena Greynolds, IT specialist; Michael Hayes, reactor systems engineer; Debra Hermann, senior technical advisor; Sudha Hebbar, secretary; Ravindra Joshi, project manager; Jan Mazza, reactor operations engineer; Michael Montague, planning and scheduling analyst; Demetrkius Murray, general engineer/scientist; Kamalkar Naidu, senior reactor operations engineer; Nicole Riddick, secretary; Bruce Olson, project manager; Donald Palmrose, senior project manager; Raju Patel, operations engineer; Ann Ramey-Smith, technical assistant; Dogan Seber, geophysicist; Alice Stieve, geologist; Swagata Som, electrical engineer; Tom Tai, senior project manager; Tung Huu Truong, electrical engineer; David Trimble, consultant; Juan Uribe, general engineer*; Robert Vettori, fire protection engineer; Zsa Zsa Young, secretary.
Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation: Robert Beall, project manager; Araceli Billoch, general engineer*; Richard Bulavinetz, aquatic biologist; Meghan Creedon, secretary; Elizabeth Cunningham, secretary; John Daly, project manager; James David, senior materials engineer; Cynthia Davison, secretary; Banu Goldfeiz, secretary; Cameron Goodwin, project manger; Michael MacWilliams, IT specialist; Lee Michael, management analyst (co-op); Daniel Mills, general engineer*; Carol Nove, materials engineer; Raman Pichumani, structural engineer; Jerry Richardson, secretary; Solomon Sahle, health physicist; JoAnn Simpson, financial analyst; Gwin Sterling, secretary; Tran Tam, project manager; Allison Travers, environmental scientist; Stephen Vaughn, reactor operations engineer; Tamera Williams, presidential management fellow.
Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research: Lauren Gibson, reactor systems analyst; Jennene Littlejohn, secretary; Daniel Santos, senior technical advisor.
Office of Nuclear Security and Incident Response: Tom Allen, consultant; Adriane Bowman, secretary; Darryl Parsons, IT specialist; Barry Wray, senior security specialist; Andrea Wimbush, secretary.
Office of Small Business and Civil Rights: Diana Strong, small business program manager.
Region I: Elise Burket, reactor inspector; Pamela Baker, Director, Division of Resource management.
Region II: Joselito Calle, senior construction manager; Timothy Chandler, resident inspector development program; Thomas Decker, senior materials analyst; Guillermo Crespo, senior construction inspector; Kevin Ellis, project manager; Karen Hunter, branch secretary; Carl Jones, senior construction inspector; Tonya Lighty, secretary; Jonathan Lizardi, reactor inspector*; Anthony Masters, construction project inspector; Jonathan Montgomery, student engineer (co-op); Susan Teal, secretary; Edgardo Torres, resident inspector development program.
Region IV: Theresa Buchanan, reactor engineer; Sean Drew Hedger, operations engineer; Charles Norton, project engineer; Nnaerika Okonkwo, reactor inspector; William Schaup, project engineer; Avidon Wolfson, student engineer.
Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards: David Fischer, senior staff engineer.
Atomic Safety and Licnesing Board Panel: DeraWolf, law clerk.
Office of Administration: Carina Clark, administrative management trainee; Robin Lewis, Chief, Administrative Services Center.
Office of the Chief Financial Officer: Vanessa Hubbard, student management analyst (coop).
Office of the Executive Director for Operations: William Kane, Deputy Executive Director for Reactor and Preparedness Programs (retied); Jacqueline Raines, secretary (retired).
Office of Federal and State Material and Environmental Management Programs: Carmen Cheng, IT specialist; Tyra Daniels, secretary; Sophie Le, student engineer.
Office of the General Counsel: Assistant General Counsel (retired);
Office of Human Resources: Rhonda Ford, human resources specialist;
Office of Information Services: Alan Dolleck, IT specialist; William Kupersanin, IT specialist.
Office of International Programs: Rita Hoskins, senior program assistant (retired).
Office of the Inspector General: Pamela Castleberry, criminal investigator; Marlene Dempsey, criminal investigator.
Office of Investigations: Adam Kalkman, student intern.
Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards: George Karmis, transportation and storage safety engineer; Bruce Moran, senior international safeguards technical analyst.
Office of New Reactors: Kamalakar Naidu, senior reactor engineer (retired); Eugene Imbro, Deputy Director, Division of Construction Inspection and Operating Programs; William Lefave, senior mechanical engineer; Timothy Mitts, senior mechanical engineer;
Office of Nuclear Security and Incident Response: Lauren Legard, security specialist*.
Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards: Jeffrey Borowitz, student engineer; George Karmis, transportation and storage safety engineer; Julie Oliver, senior project manager; Eric Reber, project manager; Daniel Tedder, senior chemical process engineer.
Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research: Juanda Fletcher, secretary (retired); Grisel Ortiz-Morales, student engineer (co-op); Ann Ramey-Smmith, technical assistant (retired); Linda Veblen, geochemist.
Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation: Stephen Alexander, reactor engineer (retired); Theresa Barnes, secretary; Mel Fields, senior project manger; George Georgiev, senior materials engineer (retired); Mary King, management analyst; Michael Lee, management analyst trainee (co-op); Michael McWilliams, IT specialist; Brian O’Rourke, Janak Rajani, IT specialist; Stephen Unikewicz, senior mechanical engineer; Ronald Young, reactor systems engineer.
Office of Nuclear Security and Incident Response: Robert Johnson, branch chief; Eric Skarpac, security analyst.
Office of the Secretary: Adria Byrdsong, administrative and litigation specialist.
Region I: Shirley Monroe, human resources specialist.
Region II: Nancy Andersen, secretary; William Travers, regional administrator (retired).
Region III: Sheri Minnick, regional government liaison specialist.
Region IV: Abin Fairbanks, reactor inspector*; Martin Frato, physical security inspector; Connie Spagnoli, secretary; Avidon Wolfson, student engineer.
Offices Name Employees of the Month
Office of Information Services
The Executive and Leadership Team of the Office of Information Services was selected Danielle Cornelius was as the Employee of the Month for October. Her award citation noted, "Danielle is a relatively recent arrival to OIS, assigned as secretary to the Business Process and Information Technology Applications Division. Despite her newness, she has already made a significant impact to the day-to-day operations in the Division. Her normal duties include time and attendance, typing memoranda, inputting data into SharePoint, setting up meetings, and taking meeting Minutes for the Director's Communications meetings, as well as responding to countless daily requests from various BPIAD staff members. In addition to her very active daily schedule, Danielle recently worked on the OIS space committee and was also instrumental in quickly moving an important and time-critical Federal Information Security Management Act report and memo through the concurrence process.
"Danielle works above and beyond and is very proactive in that she analyzes the content of her work products to ensure their accuracy and corrects errors of others before moving items forward, thus saving time and rework. She is cheerful, works well with all OIS employees, and is willing to assist where she can.
Caryn Faircloth, a Management Analyst, in the Policy, Planning, and Administrative Support Section, was selected by the Executive and Leadership Team for the OIS Employee of the Month for November. She was selected for her outstanding job in providing customer support.
Caryn's award citation says, "She is always helpful and courteous in responding to requests for information in her areas of responsibility, and she goes the extra mile to follow-up to ensure her customers' needs are met. She keeps her Division up-to-date on the status of personnel actions and provides material to use in developing position descriptions and crediting plans. In cases where requests extend outside of her area of responsibility, she will follow up to find the right person to provide the information to the customer. In addition to her normal duties, during the month of November she assisted the Office of Human Resouces in setting up numerous Pre-panel and Panel meetings for recruitments for the Business Process and Information Technology Applications Division.
Deonna Hester, a Secretary in the Program Management, Policy Development and Analysis Staff, was selected as the OIS Employee of the Month for December as a result of her additional assigned responsibility to cover the duties of the Correspondence Manager since August 2007. She has compiled the Weekly Activity Report every week, been the point of contact for the Office of the Executive Director for Operations, tracked green tickets for OIS, and closed tickets in the EDATS system.
Deonna's award citation notes, "Deonna has done all of this additional work with a cheerful attitude. Even when her schedule is very busy, she is always very helpful. She is a valuable member of the OIS team."
Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research
Mary Drouin was selected as the Employee of the Month for November for the Officer of Nuclear Regulatory Research, in recognition of her contributions toward integrating the ASME PRA standard with an ANS PRA standard. The integration of the ASME and ANS PRA standards will provide the industry with comprehensive guidance for performing PRAs and minimize unnecessary regulatory overlap.
Mary's award citation noted that her work "in support of this integration required much personal time due to its required completion by the end of calendar year 2007.
The work was done while she also was serving as lead for issuing two NUREG's during the Fall of 2007."
Ms. Drouin was recognized for her selection for this award during the RES management staff meeting in January.
Selim Sancaktar was selected as the RES Employee of the Month for December "in recognition of his initiation of a contract to study the issue of hurricane wind speeds on nuclear power plant structures, systems and components.
"The placement of the contract in December was necessary to respond to an urgent request from the Office of New Reactors to enable the Office to meet critical milestones in the review of new reactor applications.
"Of particular note is the fact that Selim picked up this work on short notice, in place of another staff person, while transitioning to a new branch with new duties. He was able to perform this assignment while maintaining the majority of his duties from his former branch and ensuring a smooth transition of his assignments (namely the expansion of SPAR models to low power and shutdown conditions and the risk evaluation of the Steam Generator Action Plan).
Selim was recognized for his selection for this award during the RES management staff meeting in February.
EWRA Schedules Two Fall Trips
The Employees Welfare and Recreation Association has made plans for two overseas trips for next fall. The first, departing in October, will go to Ireland, and the second, department in November, will visit the South of France and end in Paris. As with all EWRA-sponsored trips, both of these are open to current employees, contractors, retirees, their families, and friends. If you have any questions about the trips, email Ann.Thomas@nrc.gov.
EWRA Ireland in Depth
EWRA is arranging a thirteen-day trip that will depart from Washington on October 21 and return on November 2. The total cost for the tour from Washington, including airfare and many meals, is $2295 per person, based on double occupancy. Government taxes and fees are another $137, and there is a $495 additional fee for single occupancy.
The tour, entitled "Ireland in Depth," will depart from Dulles International Airport on October 21 (departures can be arranged from other cities), and arrive in Galway, on the west coast of Ireland, the next day. Essentially the tour will go south from Galway and follow the coast, and then go north, ending in Dublin.
When you arrive in Galway, you will be met at the airport and escorted to your hotel, the Ardilaun House, Galway. After your arrival, your Program Director will provide suggestions on how to maximize your day and explore on your own. That night, you will get to know your fellow travelers over a Welcome Drink, followed by a Welcome Briefing. Then you will be served dinner at the hotel.
The next day, after breakfast, which is included, you can explore Galway on your own or sign up for an optional tour (for a fee) through the Connemara region of Galway. The tour will include a boat ride on Lough Corrib, Ireland's premier fishing lake, and a visit to the former gothic mansion of Mitchell Henry, now the home of Benedictine nuns and better known as Kylemore Abbey.
After lunch (included in the tour price) you'll have time to wander both the mansion and the Victorian gardens. The return trip will travel through the Inagh Valley to the coast and the deserted village of Clough Na Mara.
The center of Galway spans the River Corrib. Galway is a mix of the old and the new, and has a reputation as one of the liveliest cities in Europe. Artists and musicians crowd the sidewalks and almost every pub seems to offer live music.
To facilitate your getting around on your own, there is a local bus stop just outside the gates of the hotel. Dinner is on your own.
The next day, after breakfast, which is included, the Program Director will lead a short walk through the city, leaving you to spend the rest of the day to explore on your own. Dinner will be on your own, also, but you will be able to sign up for an optional dinner and Irish night (for an extra fee). The dinner will take the form of a typical Irish Ceili, a celebration of the harvest that includes a hearty meal followed by song, stories, and dance.
On the fifth day of the tour, after the included breakfast, you will go by bus to Killarney. On the way, you will drive through The Burren and see the Cliffs of Moher. Burren comes from a Gaelic word meaning "stony place," and it is like no other place in Ireland. Instead of peat bogs and pastures, you'll find a surreal moonscape full of huge limestone crags. But, as a result of the ample rainfall, the Burren has a diverse array of plant life--including wild orchids, rock rose, and Alpine plants. The majestic Cliffs of Moher tower nearly 750 feet above the Atlantic Ocean at their highest point, offering breathtaking views of Ireland's Atlantic coast. These magnificent cliffs provide nesting sites for tens of thousands of seabirds.
When you arrive in Killarney, you will enjoy a brief tour of the town before being taken to the Killarney Towers Hotel. Dinner this evening at the hotel is included.
The sixth day of the trip will include a tour of the Ring of Kerry, with several interesting views and stops. One favorite will be a stop at a local woolen mill at the Gaps of Dunloe.
The day's tour will cover 110 miles, tracing the coastline of the Iveragh Peninsula. The first town along the route is Killorglin, where an elegant eight-arched bridge crosses the River Laune. Further on, the road descends from high above the bay to the water's edge at Kells, an attractive fishing village with panoramic viewing points. The included lunch will be served at the famous Huntsman restaurant in Waterville, with views of the broad Atlantic.
The return to Killarney goes through Ladies View, named after Queen Victoria's ladies-in-waiting.
After a late afternoon return to Killarney, dinner is on your own. In addition, for an extra fee, you can enjoy an optional performance of Siamsa Tíre, the National Folk Theatre of Ireland, and the country's only repertory company. A siamsa show presents the myths, legends, lore, language, folkways and folk life of a bygone era.
After breakfast (included) on the seventh day, you can explore Killarney on your own, or you can take an optional tour along the Dingle Peninsula. This tour will include a stop at Tralee's Kerry the Kingdom Museum, followed by a drive along the Peninsula with its wild mountains and some of Ireland's most spectacular coastline.
You'll see the Blasket Islands, the most westerly point of Europe, and their pre-historic ring forts and Beehive huts. One of Ireland's largest Irish speaking areas, the peninsula it has attracted many writers and artists for the inspiration the wild landscape offers. The movies Ryan's Daughter and Far and Away were made here. The tour includes lunch in the fishing town of Dingle, to enjoy locally caught fish (and chips) for lunch. Dinner is on your own.
If the weather on Day 8 cooperates, after breakfast the tour group will visit a working sheep farm and see Ireland's finest Border Collies in action. Next, you'll go to Cork, stopping for a visit to Blarney Castle, where a 129-step staircase leads up a tower to the famed Blarney Stone. According to legend, anyone who manages the backward lean to kiss it receives the "gift of the gab" - a smooth, soothing way with words that at best mean nothing. The McCarthys built the present castle with its 85-foot-high keep in 1446, replacing an earlier castle. Though the Blarney Stone gets all the publicity, the castle's tower house and surrounding gardens are superb in their own right.
The day's adventures end at historic Cork, Ireland's second-largest city. You will stay at the centrally located Imperial Hotel Cork, which has links to many famous events and people in Irish history. This evening you will have dinner at the hotel. After breakfast at the hotel the next morning, you will drive to Cobh (pronounced "cove"), the main harbor for the city of Cork, dominated by the spire of St. Colman's Cathedral, which contains the largest carillon in Ireland. Cobh was a major emigration point for families who left the country during the Great Potato Famine; some two-and-a-half million emigrants departed this port for North America. At visit the Cobh Heritage Center you'll discover the story of Irish emigration and the era of the great ocean liners, when Cobh was a very active port. This was the last place that the Titanic docked before heading across the Atlantic on her tragic journey. Here you can also pay tribute to the victims of the Lusitania at a quayside memorial. In 1915 this ship was sunk close to Cobh by a German submarine, with a loss of 1196 passengers, including 127 Americans. This action helped bring America into World War I.
You'll learn about contemporary life in Ireland and savor a traditional meal during a Home-Hosted Lunch with a local family. You will arrive back in Cork in late afternoon and have dinner on your own.
Breakfast on Day 10 will be served at the hotel and then the group will depart for Waterford, settled by the Vikings in the eighth century and today renowned for its exquisite crystal. After you arrive, you will have a chance to go to the Waterford Crystal Visitor Centre, with time for shopping or lunch at your leisure. That evening there will be dinner at the hotel, the Fitzwilton Hotel Waterford, followed by drinks and music at a local pub.
After breakfast on Day 11, the tour will head toward Dublin, going through County Wicklow, with a stop at Glendalough, a monastic site founded by St. Kevin, a hermit priest, in the sixth century. You'll arrive in Dublin in mid-afternoon and take a familiarization walk in the vicinity of your hotel. The group will stay at either the Mont Clare Hotel or the Camden Court Hotel. You can enjoy dinner on your own this night or join the optional Dublin cruise and dinner tour. The cruise on the River Liffey is prominent in the opening and ending of James Joyce's famous novel, Finnegan's Wake. After the cruise, dinner will be served at a local restaurant.
The following day, the last full day in Ireland, will begin with breakfast, which will be followed by a tour of the city. A high spot of the tour will be Trinity College (officially the University of Dublin), which was established by Queen Elizabeth I in 1592. Here you'll view the famous Book of Kells, an elaborate illuminated manuscript of the Four Gospels. Created by the monks of St. Columba on the Isle of Iona around 800 A.D., the book contains lavishly illustrated transcriptions of the four Gospels. This is one of the oldest surviving books in the world. The afternoon will be free for relaxation or personal exploration, and the evening will include a farewell dinner at a local restaurant.
On Day 13, after breakfast, it will be time to depart for home, unless you opt for the 3-night extension in Dublin, starting at $445 per person. You also may be able to arrange for a 5-night pre-trip stay in Northern Ireland, starting at $795 per person.
A deposit of $350 per person is required to make a reservation. To make a reservation or for more information, contact Ann.Thomas@nrc.gov.
Christmastime in the South of France
Do your holiday shopping this year in the South of France? Top it off with a few days in Paris?
Sound like a dream? The Employees Welfare and Recreation Association can help make that dream come true.
EWRA is taking reservations for Christmastime in the South of France, a nine-day cruise on the Rhone River, with an optional add-on to Paris. The trip is being arranged by Grand Circle Travel, the same travel company that organized the recently completed and highly acclaimed river cruise to the Christmas markets of Germany and Austria.
The 2008 Rhone River cruise will depart from Washington, DC, on December 5. You will fly to Marseille, France, and then travel a short distance to Arles, where you will board your ship. For the next eight days, you will be able to visit the home of the Christmas crèche and countless other holiday traditions. You will be able to wander among fir trees and shop for artisanal goods in festive Christmas markets. You will meet a local family, have dinner in their home, and find out what they expect Pere Noel to bring. You'll visit Avignon, Viviers, Tournon, Vienne, and Lyon. You'll be able to sample the 2008 Beaujolais nouveau less than a month after it's released, and you can enjoy mouthwatering chocolates and other regional specialties. And, in Lyon you might want to skip shopping and visit one of the world's best restaurants for lunch. Finally, if you want, you can end your stay in France with a trip to Paris.
You will have great service throughout. You will be met at the airport by a GCT representative and escorted to the ship. During your time on the ship, in addition to the home-hosted dinner, you will enjoy the Captain's welcome and farewell receptions and dinners, as well as breakfast, lunch, and dinner most days. Your on-board activities will be coordinated by a GCT program director, and in addition to being escorted on sightseeing tours in Arles, Avignon, Viviers, and Lyon, you will be given handouts featuring maps and tips for exploring on your own. There also will be Christmas pastry demonstrations and a French language lesson on board as you travel from port to port.
The base price for the trip, including roundtrip airfare from Washington, is $1945. This is the price per person, for a lower deck cabin, based on double occupancy. A main deck cabin will cost $2345 per person. In addition, there will be government taxes and fees of $137 per person (subject to change) and $85 per person for port charges and handling fees (also subject to change). Trip insurance is an optional (and recommended) extra, and departures from other cities can generally be arranged.
The optional extension to Paris includes transportation to Paris on a high-speed train, three nights in a hotel, a city sightseeing tour, and breakfast daily, as well as transportation from the train station to the hotel and from the hotel to the airport for the return flight to the United States. The cost of the Paris extension starts at $595 per person. The extension is subject to availability.
A deposit of $500 a person will reserve your space on the trip, but the number of spaces available is limited and the trip is likely to be booked quickly. For more information, or to make a reservation, email Ann.Thomas@nrc.gov. The trip is open to employees, contractors, and their families and friends.
The Employees Welfare and Recreation Association is sponsoring a Headquarters tennis team and a Spring Golf Outing.
Headquarters Tennis Team
The NRC Headquarters tennis team plays in a government-wide league that is both fun and challenging.
Weekly league play will begin in April and will continue until early August. The team plays once a week, with five concurrent doubles matches each play date. Matches begin at 6 p.m., and winners are determined in a two-out-of-three-set format.
Players are seeded and paired according to their ability. The team plays its matches at the Washington Tennis Center, at Sixteenth and Kennedy Streets, NW, Washington, DC. The tennis center is only about 20 minutes by car from Headquarters, and there is ample parking nearby.
In previous years, the cost of league participation was $8 per match per player, including tennis balls.
Because of the variety of travel and other work-related and personal commitments of team members, 20 or more players are needed to ensure the availability of 10 players for each match. For more information, call Barry Elliot, team manager, at 301-415-2709.
Spring Golf Outing
The 2008 Spring Golf Outing will be held Friday, April 25, at the Locust Hill Golf Club in Charles Town, West Virginia.
The outing will get underway with a shotgun start and 8:45 a.m. Players are asked to arrive by 8 a.m. The outing will use a four-person scramble format. Golfers can form their own foursomes or the committee will assign them to foursomes.
The cost of the outing is $62 a person, which includes golf fees, beverages during play, a buffet lunch afterward, and prizes. Prizes will be awarded to the first, second, and third place teams, as well as for the longest drive and closest to the pin. In addition, there will be a drawing for door prizes.
Newcomers are particularly welcome.
The deadline for making reservations for the tournament is April 18. To make a reservation, send a check, payable to NRC EWRA Golf, to Nathan Sanfilippo, Mailstop O11 A11, or hand deliver it to him at O11 D2. for more information, contact Nathan at 415-3951, Nathan.Sanfilippo@nrc.gov.
You can learn more about the golf course at www.locusthillgolfcourse.com.
As the employees Welfare and Recreation Association is gearing up to better serve the expanding Headquarters work force, the organization is looking for a few good men and women to bolster its volunteer roles. Many interesting and challenging assignments are available.
The Employees Welfare and Recreation Association is operating its store in temporary quarters in the New Reg Café, waiting completion of construction of its new facility in Two White Flint North. EWRA is also looking for volunteers to help with store operation and other EWRA activities.
Most workdays, whenever a volunteer is available, the store in the New Reg Café will be open for business between 11:45 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. The store is located just inside the hall doors of the café, next to the window wall.
The Office of Administration has installed a series of flipper cabinets, where EWRA has stored polo shirts and other logo items it has for sale.
EWRA currently is offering two types of polo shirts for sale, the traditional shirts, bearing the NRC seal, and new shirts that have the agency's new logo and "Best Place To Work" on the front. The latter are particularly appropriate for anyone planning to buy shirts for recruiting trips. These shirts are available in gray or white in a large range of sizes.
EWRA also has other items with the NRC seal, including baseball shirts, attache cases in nylon and artificial leather, nylon sports bags, coffee mugs, and lapel pins. EWRA plans to resume the sale of discount movie tickets in the near future, and, space permitting, may be able to resume the sale of used books.
The new store is scheduled for completion this summer. Watch for more details and photographs.
Anyone who is interested in volunteering to help with EWRA activities should e-mail Ann.Thomas@nrc.gov. In addition to volunteering to staff the store, EWRA needs volunteers to supervise ordering goods for the store, organize social events, sell theater and other tickets, and a variety of other tasks. EWRA is also interested in establishing a network of volunteers that will include contacts in all of the Headquarters buildings, to insure that all Headquarters are included in its activities.
Bring Your Children To Work Day at Headquarters.
|April 25||Spring Golf Outing at Headquarters.|
|May 22||Asian Pacific American Heritage Dinner, at Headquarters. Guest speaker, Department of Labor Under Secretary Anna Hui. More to come on this event.|
NR&C has a new look.
Beginning with this issue, NR&C will become a totally electronic publication, abandoning the print format that has been in use since its inception more than 20 years ago. NR&C will be produced using Adobe's DreamWeaver software, and it will be posted on both the internal and external web pages. DreamWeaver is the same software used to produce the weekly NRC Reporter, and you will notice similarities – as well as differences -- between the two publications.
Readers within NRC will receive a network announcement when a new issue of NR&C is posted. Then they will be able go to the internal home page, click on NR&C, and find both the new issue and the archive of old issues.
Readers outside of the agency (primary retirees and a few other "alumni") will receive an e-mail announcement when a new issue of NR&C is posted to the external home page, with specific directions for locating it. On the external home page, NR&C will be posted with other agency brochures (NR&C is NU-REG/BR-0066). It will be accessible to the general public, but the announcement of its availability will be sent only to those of the NR&C's email list. (To have a name added to this list, send an email request to Ann.Thomas@nrc.gov.)
NR&C will no longer be produced in hard copy. For the past several years, while the majority of readers received the document in .pdf format, fewer than 50 copies were printed and mailed to retirees. Many of those selected that option because of the slowness of .pdf downloads; the new format should be much faster.
The only other significant change in NR&C will be Swapper's Corner. It will no longer be included in the publication but it will be posted separately, under EWRA News and Events, on the internal home page. Those outside the agency will not have access to this column. However, its new electronic format will allow for much more frequent updating. To add an item to Swapper's Corner, email the material to Ann.Thomas@nrc.gov.
Change is never easy, but for a variety of reasons, over time, production of a print version of NR&C had became a major issue, demanding far more time than content and making schedules impossible. Borrowing a success process from the production of the NRC Reporter will make production much more effective and efficient, and will result in a much more timely and relevant publication.
Ashley Torres Wins in Chisholm Challenge
Ashley Torres, whose father works in Region IV, won multiple ribbons, including two for first place, in the Chisholm Challenge equestrian competition in Fort Worth, Texas.
Ashley participated in Chisholm Challenge 2008 last month at the John Justin Arena, Will Rogers Memorial Center in Fort Worth on a quarter horse named Gemini. She was part of All Star Equestrian Foundation, an entity that provides therapeutic horseback riding to children with physical, mental, and emotional challenges. Ashley is 14 years old.
Ashley was born without her left arm but that did not discourage her from pursuing what she loves -- riding horses. During Chisholm Challenge 2008 she won ribbons for seventh place in the American Quarter Horse Association Western Trail, second place in Western Reining, first place in Barrel Racing, and first place in American Quarter Horse Association Western Equitation.
For the first place in barrel racing, she also won a handcrafted bronze belt buckle. Her time on the barrel racing event was 40.2 seconds.
Ashley began riding in All Star Foundation in January 2005. When she first came to All Star, she was a very quiet and reserved young lady. She was a little uncertain about the horses, her surroundings, and her ability to ride.
She began with a person leading her horse, but she quickly went to riding independently. She built her confidence by riding one horse for a while until she mastered her skills, and now she rides several different horses. Ashley's posture and control of horses were so outstanding that before long she began competing at shows. She has competed in Chisholm Challenge at the Fort Worth Stock Show for the past three years and in several All Star In-House Horse Shows. She has ridden in events such as Western Equitation, Western Riding, Reining, Working Trail, Barrels, and Pole Bending.
Ashley has ridden both Western style and bareback. Bareback riding challenges her balance while she is reining. Western style offers her more security when she does speed events and more difficult reining. She has used adaptive reins (with a loop for her left arm), and she has also used regular reins and split reins. She has learned how to cope with them all, and she works until she conquers every obstacle. In the Working Trail course, she has to rein her horse up to a gate, manage to hold the reins, and open the gate. She has set no limits for herself.
The All Star Equestrian Foundation is located in Mansfield, Texas. It is a premier accredited riding facility of the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association.
Ashley's dad is Roberto Torres, a senior Health Physicist in the Region IV Division of Nuclear Materials Safety.
Did you know that several of Metro's online services are now available on any WAP-capable phone or /PDA?* These services include Metro's Trip Planner, the next scheduled departure for Metrobus or Metrorail, the next Metrorail train arrival times, and Service Alerts. Simply go to www.wmata.com/mobile on your mobile phone or PDA with web access and find out how easy it is to access the information.
Plan Your Trip
Metro's Trip Planner is available on any WAP-capable PDA or cell phone. Go to http://www.wmata.com/mobileblurb/mobile_trip.cfm for more details.
Next Scheduled Departure
To view next scheduled departure information for Metrorail or Metrobus phone
go to http://www.wmata.com/mobile.
select "2. Next Scheduled Departure".
enter the location; select Next.
enter the bus or rail line or leave blank for all; select Next.
A list of next scheduled departures will be displayed.
Next Train Information
To access next Metrorail train arrival information
go to http://www.wmata.com/mobile.
select "3. Next Train Information."
select a train station by clicking on the appropriate station by its first letter.
select the appropriate station to get arrival times for the next three trains.
To access service alerts
go to http://www.wmata.com/mobile
select "4. Service Alerts."
If any service alerts have been issued, they will be displayed. If no alerts are active, the Service Alerts link will not appear.
*A Wireless Application Protocol-capable phone is one that allows you to access the Internet; a PDR is a Personal Digital Assistant, such as a BlackBerry or Tero, which is essentially a handheld computer.
by Marshall Grotenhuis, retiree
|Editor's Note: Retiree Notes is a regular feature of NR&C, designed to help keep employees, retirees, and other NRC "alumni" informed about their former colleagues. Anyone who has items of interest to contribute to the column is asked to submit them to NR&C, Mail Stop 16 E 15, or email Ann.Thomas@nrc.gov.|
We certainly have lots of luncheons to catch up on. We have been continuing, but our numbers aren't as good as we would like. We do have a good variety of people turning out, including the ladies. However, we don't get big turnouts at any one luncheon. So, how about it folks. Please join us.
We meet on the first Wednesday of every month at the Old Country Buffet on Route 355 in Gaithersburg. The food is good and plentiful, and the cost is very reasonable.
Those at the November luncheon were Harry Balukjian, Jack Bell, Norman Blumberg, Loren Bush, Jerry Carter, Carl Feldman, Charles and Donnie Ferrell, Bill Forehand, Shou-Nien Hou, Mike Jamgochian, Graham Johnson, Brian Kildee, Gerald Klingler, Norm Lauben, Harold Lefevre, Dick McMullen, George Mencinsky, Doris Mossburg, Joe Murphy, George Napuda, Victor Nerses, Paul Norian, Nancy Olson, Nellie and Bob Plitt, Ernie Rossi, Bob Rothman, Lee Spessard, Kitty Vogan, and Pete Willliams.
In December, despite really bad weather, we had a fairly good turnout. Those attending were Dick Eckenrode, Pete Erickson, Charles and Donnie Ferrell, Bill Forehand, Ed Goodwin, Walter Haass, Graham Johnson, Brian Kildee, Gerald Klingler, Phil McKee, Dick McMullen, Dan Muller, Paul Norian, Nellie and Bob Plitt, Bud Requa, Charles Serpan, August Spector, and Pete Williams. Ernie Rossi, Bob Rothman, Lee Spessard, Kitty Vogan, and Pete Willliams. Bud Requa made it all the way from his new home in Delaware.
January saw a slightly better turnout, as everyone was getting over the holidays. Those attending were Bob Baer, Rich Barrett, Loren Bush, Jerry Carter, Dick Chitwood, John Craig, Mack Cutchin, Alex Dromerick, Dick Eckenrode, Pete Erickson, Charles and Donnie Ferrell, Bill Forehand, Ed Goodwin, Raymond Gustave, Walter Haass, Brian Kildee, Gerald Klingler, Phil McKee, Dick McMullen, Paul Norian, Nellie and Bob Plitt, August Spector, Lee Spessard, Bob Tedesco, Dom Tondi, Kitty Vogan, Dick Wessman, Jim Watt, Pete Williams and Betty Wright.
We seem to have a shortage of newsy tidbits this month. I hope you will get busy and keep the mail box full, with the latest on your many adventures and travels. Speaking of travels, we have had a lot of questions as to whether retirees can take advantage of EWRA-sponsored trips. The answer is a resounding yes!
There have been retirees on most if not all of the EWRA trips in recent years and, reportedly, a good time was had by all. Right now there are two trips in the planning stages, one to Ireland and one to the south of France, on a river boat. You can read about the trips elsewhere in this issue. If you are interested, don't delay in making plans.