What made you apply to Nuclear Graduates? Why did the Nuclear Graduates programme stand out?
I wanted the opportunity to use the knowledge I had developed throughout my time at university. Furthermore, I was keen to apply this knowledge to an expanding industry – such as Civil Nuclear.
The Nuclear Graduates programme piqued my interest as it facilitates routine networking with peers and seniors in an industry where everyone knows everyone. The scheme’s focus on soft skills also appealed to me as I knew that, in conjunction with subject knowledge, they would facilitate rapid progression throughout the industry.
What kind of work did you do within your role? Describe some key projects you have worked on during your secondments.
I am a “Radiological Protection Engineer” also referred to as a “Health Physicist”. The crux of the role is to consult on matters of radiological safety to project teams involved in the decommissioning of civil nuclear sites.
Utilizing my knowledge of radiation physics and the regulations surrounding radiation within the UK, I provide advice to teams of engineers to ensure projects are completed safely and in accordance with the regulations.
This may include debating whether a process complies with legislation or approved best practices, modelling of radiation hazards within an engineering context or dose assessments for jobs or people on site.
An interesting piece of work I have contributed to is a risk assessment for clearing of legacy nuclear waste from a storage vault. This included learning about handling and transport processes as well as estimating potential doses by considering the geometry of the vaults, the human processes and the types and energies of radiation present.
What opportunities provided by the Nuclear Graduates programme have helped with your professional development?
The Nuclear Graduates programme has funded membership to organisations such as the Society for Radiological Protection (SRP) which provide countless resources and networking opportunities.
Furthermore, the programme has seen me partake in a university certificate with the University of Strathclyde further enhancing my knowledge base for my role.
Finally, the programme has facilitated travel to numerous conferences and events. Notably, including a conference on the state of worldwide nuclear decommissioning in the UN building in Vienna.
What has been your highlight whilst on the programme?
Without a doubt, the international atomic energy agency (IAEA) conference at the UN in Vienna has been the highlight of the scheme so far. It served to emphasize that my place and this industry is not limited to the UK and emphasized the importance of collaboration on a local and international scale. It gave me a sense of place and importance that confirmed that my professional life will be contributing to something that has true impact globally.
What advice would you give a future Nuclear Graduate?
My advice to future Nuclear Grads would be threefold:
- Carpe Diem! Seize every opportunity. Go to that conference. Present at that event.
- Understand the importance of networking. The nuclear industry is large in scale but small on the human level. Everyone knows everyone. Brush up on your soft skills and learn how to make the most of every encounter you have.
- Find your place. Take every placement for what it’s worth. Gain the widest breadth of experience possible and then inform your later career moves with it. There may be an aspect of the industry you never even considered that may end up being the perfect role for you.