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Overcoming the poor public image


'THE NUCLEAR sector as a whole suffers badly from negative stereotyping, ' says Simon Lewis, British Nuclear Group's senior project manager on the Trawsfynydd project. 'But it is an unfair image. Every thing we do is t ightly controlled by the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate and, as you can imagine, there can be no risks taken on-site.' That the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate ? the nuclear industry's arm of the Health and Safety Executive ? keep such a close watch on the work at nuclear power stations should be a boost to recruitment for the sector and Mr Lewis is keen to point out that graduate engineers could get a full career grounding across most disciplines on just one site.

'We have a design team here, there are opportunities for civil engineering work, structural work and obviously demolition. Decommissionings are truly multi-disciplined, ' he says.

For Mr Lewis the work at the site in Snowdonia was attractive initially because it was close to his home just on the Welsh side of the border near Chester.

'I had worked all around the country for various contractors and just wanted to be able to get home easily. I still stay onsite during the week because it's a bit too far to be travelling every day but it's easy enough to get home when I want, ' he says.

But since he started at Trawsfynydd two and a half years ago Mr Lewis has become a proud champion of the decommissioning sector.

'The techn iques we are developing here will be applied to other stations throughout the British nuclear industry and further abroad. It could be an exciting area for workers to specialise in, ' he says.