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Home : Volume 25 : Fall 1998 :
Distinguished Service Award for Thomas F. Plunkett

Thomas F. Plunkett

Thomas F. Plunkett
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Thomas Plunkett seems to master what many of us strive for: Performing as a highly effective industrial leader while maintaining compassion and concern for people.

These attributes are illustrated through one of his life stories, which began in August, 1992, the day Hurricane Andrew hit. At the time, Plunkett was serving as vice president of Turkey Point Power Plant in Florida. He managed 1,000 employees who ran two pressurized-water reactors for Florida Power and Light.

When Hurricane Andrew turned toward Turkey Point, Plunkett shut down the reactors and rode out the storm with 234 other employees who volunteered to stay at the plant. He then led the recovery after the hurricane.

Plunkett's first priority was the people. He turned the plant and the training center into a shelter for the workers and their families. He also arranged for on-site childcare, and provided hot meals, laundry and gasoline. Meanwhile, plant workers were cleaning and checking out every system so Turkey Point was ready to run again in 35 days.

Turkey Point Nuclear Station will always remember Plunkett for his quick and caring reaction after Hurricane Andrew hit. It will also remember how he and his staff, which would only settle for excellence, elevated the station from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Watch List to being one of the top two plants in the country in 1997.

Among his other accomplishments, Plunkett established the world operating record for a boiling water reactor while he was general manager of the River Bend Nuclear Plant. He also received the Distinguished Author Award for technical papers, journals and articles for four consecutive years while at Douglas Aircraft.


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