Starting as a Graduate Mechanical Engineer in the Nuclear New Build Business of Atkins was exciting. After being trained and inducted I started working on my first project which required me to assess a Nuclear Power Plant design for compliance with British Fire regulations. I quickly started to produce compliance reports on the design and suggested recommendations on what elements of the design could be improved. I then briefly worked on the Japanese Earthquake Response Programme which aimed at upgrading UK Nuclear Power Stations to lessons learnt from the Fukushima accident. Following this, I was Project Manager for the delivery of a feasibility report on the circulating water system for a new nuclear power plant in the UK.
All of these projects were based at the Atkins Epsom office and when an opportunity emerged for a client secondment I went for it and was assigned to be based at a client office for 8 months. During this secondment I was involved in the building of the management system of a utility company and had to work with the client, other consultants and regulators in order to create a good deliverable. Specifically I was working in the management of regulatory compliance and developing its processes, this was a great and very rewarding experience.
My final project in the first 18 months at Atkins Nuclear was on the Reactor Chemistry chapter of the Pre Construction Safety Report for a New Nuclear Power Plant which is going through the Generic Design Assessment. This experience required me to work with engineers in different offices, locations and countries to overcome technical challenges.
I have started a 6 month secondment in the UK aerospace industry and am working on the management of component qualification testing. The diversity of clients, industries and work that Atkins has, means that there are many opportunities to learn from different projects. The learning curve in my first 19 months with Atkins has been very steep which is excellent; the opportunity to work on major engineering projects is very motivating and the work environment and colleagues is diverse and inspiring. The UK nuclear industry seems like it is finally picking up again with the EdF investment which is an excellent moment for new nuclear engineers.
Matteo Frontini – Nuclear Energy MPhil Student 2012-13