09 August 2016/Categories: Media News
As part of the two-year ECITB sponsorship of 11 Arkwright Scholars, two scholars joined a further nine scholars sponsored by NuGeneration, Sellafield Ltd and the Nuclear Institute on the Arkwright Nuclear Scholars Summer School based at Manchester University. The week was brilliantly organised by Naomi Alleyne from NNL and John Robertson from the Nuclear Institute and kicked off on Monday 1 August with team building and ice breaker exercises. These immediately engaged the students and got them ready for the activity packed week ahead.
Day two commenced with a grand tour of the URENCO fuel enrichment site at Capenhurst, where the students were treated to a historical look at the evolution of Uranium fuel enrichment, in which the proportion of the uranium 235 isotope has been raised from the natural level of 0.7% to about 3.5%-5%. Probably the most exciting yet least remarkable part of the tour was peering through the door at the centrifuges, which appear to stand motionless but are in-fact spinning at incredibly high speeds concentrating the useful uranium 235, leaving about 85% of the uranium by separating gaseous uranium hexafluoride into two streams: one enriched to the required U235, the other is depleted U235 (called tails).
Giving the scholars a taste of university life Dr John Roberts, University of Manchester gave a thought provoking presentation on the history of the university and Professor Earnest Rutherford before heading off to carry out a series of experiments in the university laboratories. Students were also fortunate to gain a glimpse into the nuclear new build programme through an evening talk by Tom Sampson, CEO of NuGeneration. Tom walked students through the company’s vision and plans at Moorside in Cumbria and answered many questions. He was very impressed by the calibre of the students and the level of questions.
On Thursday students were taken on a tour of EDF’s Heysham site, which scholars, described as, “wonderful, “ and “helpful to everyone to understand more about nuclear energy. “ An “increasingly difficult” quiz courtesy of Naomi and John followed in the evening. The final day encompassed two forward looking (and suitable high level) talks by Tim Tinsley from NNL on ‘nuclear reactors – space batteries’ and Ian Chapman from UKAEA on Nuclear Fusion.
Steve Barrett, Head of Skills Strategy - Nuclear at the ECITB said:
“The summer school has been a huge success, providing scholars with an excellent insight to both the industry and the academic establishments which have supported its development over the years. This is an exciting time and the nuclear renaissance will present some excellent opportunities across the entire nuclear spectrum – from R&D in new technology such as Small Modular Reactors and Fusion to long term solutions in waste management and decommissioning. These scholars are well placed to be the scientists and engineers of the future – the ECITB is delighted to be supporting them and the industry in this journey!”
The ECITB wishes to thank Naomi and John in particular, and also the scholars who took part for helping to make this a big success.