CNTA 25th anniversary

From left, CNTA original board member Steve Sheetz, Executive Director Jim Marra and board member Don Bridges, right, present Aiken Technical College representative Mary Commons with a $1,000 donation. The donation will fund a scholarship for a student in the nuclear technology program at ATC.

Citizens for Nuclear Technology Awareness celebrated its silver anniversary Monday evening with a dinner and donation presentation to Aiken Technical College at Newberry Hall.

The organization is a nonprofit membership group that focuses on educational outreach surrounding nuclear technology and other nuclear related disciplines.

CNTA Executive Director Jim Marra said, “We came here to celebrate, not many organizations can go 25 years. Here we are striving and thriving.”

Steve Sheetz was a member of the first board of directors and led the event’s program.

“We have been very successful with education outreach. We have brought in several hundred middle and high school teachers to help get nuclear topics into the classrooms during the last several years,” Sheetz said.

As a continued part of the education outreach, CNTA donated an additional $1,000 to the Aiken Technical College nuclear technology program. The money will be used to fund a scholarship for an individual student within the nuclear program at ATC.

Sheetz said, “Every year at this event we would give out pens and coffee mugs. We decided this year that we didn’t really need any more trinkets and instead donated money to Aiken Tech.”

Marra is the organization’s fifth executive director and took over last month after Mike Johnson retired from the position. Marra said he expects the group’s work to carry on for years to come.

“It can last another 25 years or more; I don’t see why not. Nuclear technology is such an important element to South Carolina. We get much of our electricity from nuclear power and with new units being built at the VC Summer plant and the push for carbon-free energy, nuclear technology has a big role in the future,” Marra said.

Thomas Gardiner covers science, energy and technology topics for the Aiken Standard. Follow him on Twitter @TGardiner_AS.