National Nuclear Laboratory


Sunday 25 May 2014

Students Energise Nuclear Ideas

Scientists and engineers of tomorrow have been finding out what it’s all about with the help of the National Nuclear Laboratory based at Sellafield in collaboration with educational charity the Smallpeice Trust at a four-day residential course.

Through the course – held at Lancaster University – schoolchildren aged 14 to 16 years old with an interest in the nuclear industry have been tackling a variety of challenges including a Design and Make project.

Fifty pupils from across the UK were involved in the course to help develop their interest and increase their understanding, providing an introduction to nuclear engineering and the skills needed to work in the expanding nuclear business.

They included students from St Benedicts Catholic High School, Whitehaven, and Cockermouth School.

The course covered a range of issues such as radiation, the environment, decommissioning and waste. At the end of the course, the pupils – who were split into teams – gave a presentation of their Design and Make project to senior executives of the NNL, taking into account working with radiation and what that means. The project was based around removing nuclear waste from a pond.

Dominic Rhodes, Technology Officer for the NNL who helped organise the course, said: “We are working closely with the university to ensure these students fully understand the opportunities available.

“The nuclear industry is growing and with it we need more skilled people at all levels. This course gives pupils a real hands-on feel for what it would be like to work in the industry in the future during a period of expansion.”

Spokesperson for the Smallpeice Trust Gemma Murphy said: “This kind of course gives the students a taste of university life and a genuine insight into the real-life challenges faced by engineers in the nuclear sector. We see this as a successful collaboration which works for everyone involved.”

The Nuclear Engineering course is run by the NNL with the Smallpeice Trust as part of an ongoing programme of residential courses designed to help young people aged 13 to 18 learn and develop skills in engineering, design, technology and manufacturing.  Through running residential courses and Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) enrichment days, the Trust has reached out to over 15,000 students across the UK in the past year.