“There is a demonstrable need for intelligent, passionate and open-minded graduates to come into the nuclear industry,” says Phil DeFoggi, managing director, RSK Radiological. “Through our internship programme, we have worldwide experts in nuclear science mentoring some exceptionally talented and driven young minds – with excellent results.”
He cites the example of Alex Jackson, who joined the company’s graduate scheme in 2010, was seconded to Magnox Ltd’s Bradwell site, and is now an RSK consultant working full time at the plant.
Following its shutdown in 2002 after 40 years’ operation, Bradwell is undergoing an accelerated decommissioning programme. Intensive surveying and sampling are helping to determine the levels of radioactivity and contamination left on-site.
Magnox awarded RSK the contract for this characterisation process and Jackson was initially hired to support RSK’s radiological engineers with data administration tasks. The four-month programme was a success and Jackson has remained at the site on a rolling contract ever since. Under the mentorship of highly experienced co-workers from RSK and Magnox, Jackson was exposed to challenges across a wide range of disciplines and gained highly valuable experience, expertise and insights.
“When I came to Bradwell in April 2010, I had no experience of the nuclear industry or health physics or radiological engineering,” says Jackson. “My background was in geochemistry, but I was extremely motivated to get into the nuclear industry. It was a very steep learning curve, but I did everything I could to absorb knowledge and skills from the first-class people I was working with. And, now that I am a consultant, I can take the initiative and give something back.”
Fast forward to February 2012 and the internship programme was repeated. Magnox invited another new RSK graduate, Ross Armstrong, to join the site and gain priceless experience of working in a nuclear power plant.
Jackson, who mentored Armstrong, explains how the new hire benefited. “Ross was on-site to assist the characterisation team, and, crucially, he gained experience of the structured processes and procedures that govern the operations at a nuclear plant. For instance, he saw how things like risk assessments and pre-job briefs feed into RSK’s work in characterisation and make a nuclear power plant tick. You just cannot get that experience from a company office.”
Contact: Phil DeFoggi