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Graduate Case Study: Nuclear Decommissioning

Wednesday 13th February 2013

Emily Baird

Emily at work

Cardiff graduate Emily Baird is currently part of a training scheme with Magnox Ltd, a nuclear decommissioning company.

Having graduated in 2011 from the MPhys in Astrophysics scheme, she finds herself working towards qualifying as an Accredited Health Physicist (AccHP).

Health physicists give advice and guidance about the possible hazards of ionizing radiation. This is done by using equipment to measure and monitor radiation and contamination, and completing risk assessment to ensure the safety of the workplace, the general public and the environment.

Magnox, owned by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), is responsible for 10 nuclear sites around the UK. The UK Magnox commercial stations were the first nuclear power plants in the world and Emily, along with her colleagues, is tasked with defueling, decommissioning and safely handling the nuclear legacy at their Sites.

"My first placement was at Wylfa Power Station (Anglesey), where I got to experience an outage. Outages happen when a power station switches off a reactor for essential maintenance to occur. This is a very busy and exciting time as there is lots of work going, and several hundred people on Site.

I then moved to Hinkley Point A (Somerset), where I worked on various decommissioning projects across Site. These included giving radiation protection advice for civil inspections, decontamination and de-planting activities. Currently I am working at Trawsfynydd Site (Snowdonia), where I am working towards completing my portfolio for my final interview to become an Accredited Health Physicist.

I have really enjoyed my time with Magnox; I have met a lot of people within the industry, and have travelled to most areas of the country during my time here. I like the flexibility of the scheme, as I am able to pick and choose what opportunities I get involved in, which I can tailor to my own career path. If I was to give one piece of advice to anyone starting in the nuclear industry, it is to get involved with everything that is offered to you. And Network, network, network!"

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