OAK RIDGE, Tenn.(WVLT) -- It's a side of the Oak Ridge National Lab most people never see.
It's also one of two reactor sites in the world that produces a radioisotope called Californium 252.
Big words that produced even bigger results to help change our planet.
Nuclear Engineer Julie Ezold manages the facility. "What we can use that for is to start up new, nuclear power plants", says Ezold.
More specifically it looks for impurities in coal making it cleaner for the environment. It's also used in oil exploration and the treatment of cancer.
And all run by a single mom who's also a nuclear engineer.
WILLIAMS: "Is is tough to drop this seemingly intellectual perspective that many people just cannot grasp and then go home and play with dolls?.
EZOLD:"Nope, because my daughter is very curious and that's a scientific quality and all kids especially
younger kids are curious so it's just a different level."
WILLIAMS:"This is a male dominated area right?.
EZOLD" "For the most part, women make up about 15 to 20 percent".
WILLIAMS: "And for your title and for what you do, it's pretty unique isn't it?"
EZOLD: "It is., it's fascinating, I love my job, I have no trouble getting
up every morning and getting to work, have more trouble getting my five year old to get up and go to school."
While Ezold's goal is making life changing advances in energy, teaching youngsters about it is her passion.
WILLIAMS: "What do they ask you?"
EZOLD: "Always the first question, what do you do. what I do, specifically with younger ones from preschool to about 5th graders, I
bring in radiation detectors and naturally occurring radioactive sources and just let them play.
WILLIAMS: "Many people put together widgets on an assembly line, but you can change the world."
EZOLD: "It's pretty amazing".