Diablo Canyon Power Plant's Pat Nugent: A Different Kind of Engineer
In recognition of Nuclear Science Week, Pacific Gas and Electric Company's Diablo Canyon Power Plant spotlights Pat Nugent
and how he
works to make both the plant and the Central Coast community a better place.
While most engineers thrive while working with numbers, principles and designs, Pat Nugent, director of quality verification at Diablo Canyon Power Plant, is different.
is a "people" person.
enjoys the human interaction of making sure the plant's policies and practices are sound, conform to both Diablo Canyon standards and federal regulations, and protect its employees, the environment and the residents of the Central Coast.
sees Diablo Canyon
as a vital element in the effort to meet the state's energy needs while reducing its use of fossil fuels.
"I like working with people.
I spent a lot of time in high school doing public speaking and I spent my youth as a Boy Scout - I'm an Eagle Scout.
I've volunteered locally with the Boy Scouts in the past.
I like working with people as much as most engineers probably enjoy working with numbers," said Nugent, who began working for Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) while attending Cal Poly.
Nugent wasn't really aware of Diablo Canyon when he enrolled in the mechanical engineering program at Cal Poly in 1984.
But over the following four years, he
way into a job as a groundman with a PG&E line crew and wound up with an internship at Rancho Seco Nuclear Generating Station, a plant operated by the Sacramento Municipal Utility District from 1975 to 1989 that was not far from his
hometown of El Dorado Hills.
About a year after that summer internship, Nugent
sought out a faculty advisor to see if he
could get a co-op job at Diablo Canyon
learned there were two spots available that hadn't been advertised, he
"crashed the interview" and wound up with a position in regulatory services which fit him perfectly.
"It gave me the opportunity to not always be behind a computer doing calculations all of the time, but to use my understanding of engineering and engineering principles and system interactions with being able to work with people.
And I really like that," he
He served in several positions in regulatory services including as a supervisor for five years and a manager for two years.
He also served two-and-a-half years in mechanical systems engineering.
In 2005, he was loaned by PG&E to the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations to work as a senior equipment reliability evaluator, a position he held for about 15 months.
When he returned to Diablo Canyon he served two years as a project engineering manager, three years as technical support engineering manager before taking over other projects.
In June, he was appointed as the station's quality verification director.
sees Diablo Canyon
, which produces nearly 10 percent of all the electricity generated in California and 20 percent of the electricity PG&E's customers use - free of greenhouse gas emissions - as a vital element in the effort to meet the state's energy needs while reducing its use of fossil fuels.
also sees the station and its employees as integral pieces of the Central Coast community.
is the biggest single clean-electricity generating source in the state.
is also the largest private employer in the county and that is due to Diablo Canyon
The people at the plant are a huge economic asset to the county," said Nugent
, who has volunteered with several local organizations, donates his
time as chief financial officer of a local nonprofit radio station, and is training coordinator for the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Department dive team.