Feature16Covent Garden in Central London is a long way from the business end of the nuclear industry. Nevertheless, there is something radioactive in Agneta Rising's offi ce.On a shelf by the window is a small collection of green-tinted glassware. Mrs Rising takes a dosimeter out of the fi ling cabinet and the uranium oxide in the glass immediately makes it crackle.The dose is only very slightly above background but it reminds us that radiation is part of our environment and has many diff erent applications.It was the use of radioactive materials in medicine that fi rst attracted Mrs Rising to study radiation physics at university in her native Sweden. Then she joined what later became Vattenfall, one of the country's power plant operators. Now she is uniquely placed to give an overview of the world's nuclear state of play. "At the beginning, nuclear energy was very much a national programme with most reactors designed for customers in a particular country. Today it's totally international and we have the highest level of nuclear new build for 25 years. Apart from economics, the drivers are also the need for low-carbon electricity and energy security."The engineering and reactor types are international but once you have put a nuclear power station in place it becomes a domestic energy source. You can cut off the supply of gas to a pipeline or stop ships delivering coal, but nuclear fuel is easy to procure from many diff erent sources and not much is needed to produce a lot of electricity."When you build a nuclear power plant, a lot of the people involved in the construction, supply chain, operation, and in maintenance have to be domestic. If you have the people and the fuel, you can operate the plant."Mrs Rising points out a little known fact that throughout the recent confl ict in Ukraine, the Russian nuclear industry has carried on supplying that country's nuclear power plants with fuel without any interruption.She adds: "Geopolitics is not a problem for nuclear power. There is a spirit of international cooperation in the industry, it's almost like the Olympic Games. Where you get political problems, they tend to arise from domestic party politics." Mrs Rising argues that one of the main reasons nuclear power is growing worldwide is that developing countries expect it to bring them more than just cheap, clean, reliable electricity. "The nuclear supply chain helps to develop a country's industry and skills. In Indonesia, people want to have nuclear power because they believe that with it will come more education, new technology and better jobs. South Korea is an example of how nuclear power has been a stabilising factor that enabled the country to build capacity and move on with other technological and economic development."The World Nuclear Association wants to see more streamlining and standardisation in the global supply chain, so that components and materials manufactured to a certifi ed quality standard are accepted throughout the world, as in aerospace. Agneta Rising, Director-General of the World Nuclear Association, explains why so many nations want to join the nuclear power clubGlobal industry domestic resource'There is a spirit of international cooperation in the industry, it's almost like the Olympic Games.'
Feature17"I had prior opinions about the nuclear industry. However, upon completing this visit my opinions have changed. I would now consider joining the nuclear industry." Those are the words of Hussain Abdullaziz, one of fi ve engineering students from the United Arab Emirates who recently visited the UK as interns with Amec Foster Wheeler's Clean Energy Business.Hussain and his fellow visitors, Hind Alhamiri, Budour Al Yammahi, Alanoud Alabdouli and Abdelaziz Alzaabi attended interactive seminars and training sessions in reliability engineering, scheduling and design software, project management, commercial awareness and technical sketching.The students, from Khalifa University in Abu Dhabi, received on-the-job training, learned how to use Abaqus software and took part in several engineering practicals, including design work on a radioactive waste building for a new nuclear reactor. They also discussed and derived key critical safety functions and safety functional requirements, before moving on to apply this as part of a case study. The month-long visit took them to Amec Foster Wheeler's training rig facilities and laboratories in Birchwood, Hunterston power station, the National Nuclear Laboratory's Cumbria labs, the Gen2 training centre (where they viewed a simulator of a pressurised-water reactor), the Dalton Nuclear Institute at the University of Manchester and the institute's facility in Cumbria. Tom Jones, Vice President for Strategy and Business Development at Amec Foster Wheeler's Clean Energy Business, said: "Supporting the development of tomorrow's leaders and engineers is of strategic importance to the growth of our business, especially in new nuclear nations such as the UAE." David Boath, Vice President Project Delivery, and Ian Stout, Director Proposals, met the interns before they returned to Abu Dhabi, where they spent two weeks hosted by Amec Foster Wheeler's Oil and Gas business.Dr Tod Laursen, Khalifa University's President, said: "Nuclear energy is at the centre of the UAE's future energy goals, and spurring student interest in working in this sector is vitally important. Khalifa University is dedicated to developing the UAE's nuclear energy leaders and clean energy leaders of tomorrow, and these exciting internships are a part of that journey."Students from United Arab Emirates learn what it's like to work in the UK's nuclear sectorLeft to right: Zeb Farooq (Proposal Manager), Ian Stout (Director Proposals), Abdelaziz Alzaabi, Budour Al Yammahi, Alanoud Alabdouli, Hind Alhamiri, Hussain Abdullaziz (Khalifa University students), Katie Keats (Capture Manager), and David Boath (Vice President Project Delivery)Abdelaziz Alzaabi (right) and Hussain Abdullaziz try their hand on the pressurised water reactor simulator at Gen2Interns engineer an insight into industry