Russell Adams is a nuclear facilities operator at the Materials and Fuels Complex of Idaho National Laboratory. As entry supervisor for the hot cells in the Analytical Laboratory during a recent project, Adams was responsible for planning, safe execution, and completion of work during all phases of the hot cell maintenance.
Adams plans all maintenance on the cells, including removing old and outdated equipment, and installing new equipment with unique capabilities for research. He and his co-workers are responsible for safely maintaining all facility systems and equipment to ensure that when a researcher is ready to commence work, the lab systems are operating as safely and efficiently as possible.
Adams wasn’t always a nuclear facilities operator. Fifteen years ago he was a soldier in the United States Army, assigned to the 1st Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment, 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry at Fort Hood, Texas. Working as a chaplain’s assistant, Adams’ job stateside was to take care of soldiers and their families. “It was a great job,” Adams said, “very rewarding.”
Adams was deployed in 2003 during Operation Iraqi Freedom. While overseas, his role was a soldier responsible for the safety and well-being of the chaplain, as well as caring for the welfare of his fellow soldiers.
When Adams’ deployment ended, so did his Army enlistment, and he returned to his home in eastern Idaho. His career at INL began in 2004 as a security police officer. In 2007, Adams hired into the Nuclear Operations group, and became a nuclear facility operator. In addition to his operations responsibilities, Adams is also involved in the Voluntary Protection Program, including becoming a Safety Observations Achieve Results (SOAR) coach and chairing employee safety teams.
Although the details of the job are different, Adams remains as passionate about his coworker’s physical and emotional safety today as he was for the safety of his fellow soldiers. “My work is aimed at helping make someone else’s job easier,” he said. “I know I’m contributing to the mission of the lab.”