Joshua Talbot, 33
Operation Director, Xcel Energy’s Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant
Military Service: Navy (2001-2007)
Highest Rank: Petty Officer First Class (E-6)
Rate: Electronics Technician, Nuclear (ETN1)
Civilian Job: Control Room Supervisor, Xcel Energy
Talbot directs operations at Xcel Energy’s Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant. He’s usually in the control room, but also reviews and distributes work packages, supervises fuel handling or plans for refueling outages.
Coolest Part of the Job
Cherenkov radiation is the bluish-purple glow around freshly used nuclear fuel, caused by electrons emitted by radioactive decay that momentarily exceed the speed of light in water as they slow down. Talbot says Cherenkov radiation is both beautiful and awe-inspiring.
Staying focused. Operating a nuclear plant can be boring at times, but a boring day is a good day. “The focus that our operators maintain 24-7-365 is a credit to their dedication and a testament to the respect each of us has for nuclear power.”
Talbot says his technical training has been invaluable. But the military also taught him to pay attention to detail and how to respond under pressure, which uniquely prepared him for his civilian jobs.
“To really shine in an interview, you need to develop a narrative; tell the story of how you got to where you are now, where you want to go and why. Review standard interview questions and think of how you would answer them.”
How do you relax?
I love spending time with friends, playing video games, watching movies, taking my kids on bike rides, and building unique electronic gadgets.