The Red & White
Better BiologyFriday, November 17, 2006 By Sandra Anceravage
Dodge is stationed in a room that holds approximately 20 computers. In this room he helps other PPL workers take training tests. PPL workers may learn about certain topics such as Radiological Worker Training which is a course that teaches the trainees about the dangers of radiation and what radiation is. Radiation is the process in which energy is sent out as particles or waves. The trainees sit at computers and read slides. Reading comprehension is one of the most important components a trainee will have to perform. After they have read all the slides, they then take a test. The more tests a worker passes, the more activities he or she can participate in. So far Dodge has completed 17 training courses himself and has helped others master many more. One door away is a room where Dodge examines the dress. This means he will watch and observe workers putting on and taking off their safety clothes in a radioactive environment. They must then prove to him that they know how to use different types of machinery that detect radiation, including one machine that is used for small objects such as wallets, jewelry, or glasses, and other, larger machines that workers step into almost like a time machine that detect any radiation. This process is very crucial because if any radiation were to travel into an environment where people aren’t wearing protective clothing, it could damage some of their biological cells with a chance of causing fatal cancers. Should radiation penetrate into reproductive cells, it could cause genetic defects in later generations of offspring. Dodge also walks around with more experienced PPL workers. Dodge watches what they do and how they fix certain problems. Dodge was also able to participate in a mock drill of what would happen if a person had radiation detected on his body. Dodge was taken in a helicopter from the PPL plant to Geisinger Medical Center. Once at Geisinger the doctors had to wrap him up in plastic so the radiation wouldn’t travel. Science teacher James Perry also had the opportunity to participate in this program. “I learned new teaching and testing techniques,” says Perry. Dodge hopes to bring back to the school the importance of reading comprehension. “I used to assign reading assignments that would be to the students advantage but I never enforced the reading,” he says. “When I come back to the school I will assign more reading assignments, and make sure the reading is done.” He will also make sure his students follow procedures precisely in labs while informing them of major opportunities for jobs in the nuclear industry in five or six years. “There is no chance that I will miss another year at Bloomsburg High School. I like the busy environment,” says Dodge.