Environmental Engineering in the Nuclear Sector

Hear more from Rebecca, an Environmental Engineer on the nucleargraduate Scheme with Magnox:

"I am on the nucleargraduates scheme and work at a nuclear power plant that is being decommissioned which means it doesn’t make electricity anymore, so the site needs to be demolished and remediated. I help make sure these works happen without environmental harm.

The nucleargraduates scheme is a great scheme to apply to after graduating. You have an unrivalled opportunity to work in an exciting and innovative industry whilst developing your personal and professional competencies. Find out more here.

At A Level I studied Geography, Chemistry and Biology. I think Physics and Maths would also be helpful, as when I studied at university, I wished I had a bit more mathematical knowledge! I studied a BSc (hons) in Environmental Science and an MSc (eng) in Environmental Engineering at University."

Why is your area of STEM important?

My STEM area is important because to combat global warming we need to generate electricity that doesn’t produce greenhouse gases. Nuclear power unlike fossil fuels doesn’t generate carbon dioxide so is important for the UK to achieve net zero.

In addition, the safe and secure demolition of existing plants is complicated and will take a very long time so is going to remain relevant for years to come and will need people to ensure work is conducted sustainably!

What do you do day-to-day in your job?

A typical day for me would be taking samples from a part of site and then running tests to check the different chemicals and the radioactivity. To do this I would have to wear PPE (personal protective equipment) involving a hard hat, high vis clothes, gloves and a specific face mask. Then these samples are analysed in a laboratory to check that the levels are correct. From these results I can then decide if the levels are acceptable and if operations can carry on as they are happening sustainably.

I also assess environmental risks at the site. This involves checking parts of the site and seeing whether works that are happening could harm the environment or aren’t as sustainable as they could be. For example, are all the buildings as energy efficient as they could be and are any discharges happen that are environmentally concerning.

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