MSME alumna enforces nuclear plant safety at NRC
MechSE alumna Diana Betancourt-Roldán was recently promoted to Senior Resident Inspector at the Byron nuclear power plant in Byron, Illinois. One of two senior resident inspectors located there, Betancourt-Roldán is the eyes and ears of the NRC and enforces regulations to ensure the plant is operating in a safe manner.
“As a Senior Resident Inspector I am the agency’s lead field inspector implementing the NRC’s inspection program. I observe various plant activities relating to nuclear safety in the areas of maintenance, surveillances, manipulations of various equipment and review associated calculations. When a safety equipment failure occurs I review the reasons for the failure, its impact on safety and the actions that are taken to correct the deficiency at the Byron Nuclear Plant.”
After earning her bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Puerto Rico, Betancourt-Roldán joined the NRC in 2006 as a reactor engineer and spent two years in the Nuclear Safety Development Program learning more about nuclear plant technology and the NRC’s regulations. To further her career, Betancourt-Roldán enrolled in the online Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering program in MechSE to learn more about mechanical failure, graduating in 2012.
Her Illinois degree gave her the expertise in failure mechanisms that allowed her to become a mechanical inspector. Combined, this helped her achieve a goal of becoming a resident inspector for NRC. Betancourt-Roldán said the education she received from MechSE equipped her with the expertise to perform failure analysis and allowed her to be a part of a major inspection called a supplemental inspection. These inspections are performed by a large team of inspectors and are designed to allow inspectors to look deeper into information regarding the safety of facilities where potentially significant risks could be identified.
With the challenge of a busy schedule with her work for the NRC, Betancourt-Roldán appreciated the flexibility of the online master’s program.
“The online master’s degree program was a game changer since it allowed me to complete a master’s degree from an elite university while traveling extensively for work.”