Interview with Charlotte, Nuclear Security Engineer

24 April 2018
Passionate about the nuclear sector, Charlotte discusses her career journey.

Charlotte, you have been a nuclear security engineer at AUSY since January 2015. Can you please tell us about your career path?

I have a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and a master’s degree in industrial environment control from Caen. During my studies, I completed an internship in the nuclear sector. This first experience was enjoyable for me, so I decided to pursue this avenue. Then I joined an intellectual services company as a nuclear security engineer. There, I completed a delivery on the post-Fukushima project.

 Why did you move towards nuclear security? What in this field of activity appealed to you?

I have been attracted to the nuclear sector for two big reasons. Firstly, the nuclear field is a booming sector and my diploma fits into this sector perfectly. Furthermore, this domain certainly requires knowledge but also demands some personal qualities, such as discipline, the ability to synthesise, and curiosity, that correspond to my own.

I do not anticipate changing fields because I can constantly develop my knowledge and work on a variety of missions. Career evolutions are also possible.

What is your occupation?

It is an occupation with transversal functions. Depending on the projects I am working on, my tasks can be very diverse. These can consist of completing a follow-up action, rereading a security report, updating a document or supporting a client.

More frequently, it involves examining potential risks encountered under certain conditions and defining the associated means of prevention as well as remedial measures if need be. During this type of studies, interactions with different business lines are necessary.

What are your professional experiences thus far? 

After my mission on the post-Fukushima project, I rejoined AUSY. I knew that AUSY had a framework arrangement with Areva and missions in Cherbourg, so I decided to send my application. I wished to stay in the region, so I wanted a company that was able to guarantee me a long-term mission. Since my arrival, AUSY has offered me three missions. I began with Areva (currently Orano) then I worked for Naval Group (formerly DCNS) for a year and a half. Since January 2017, I have been working again at Orano and I work on two projects: ESPN (Equipements sous pression nucléaire, or equipment under nuclear pressure) and NCPF (nouvelle concentration produits de fission, or new concentration fission products).

What are your missions? What skills are you developing?

For five years now, as a security engineer, my tasks have been varied:

  • Drafting security analyses and security reports during the work phase,
  • Drafting safety option files,
  • Regulatory equipment monitoring,
  • Action plan follow-up,
  • Client support,
  • Production verification of the members of my team (whether or not they are on the same project as me). This makes it possible to develop the team’s skills in terms of rereading but also to not limit oneself to one project.

My technical skills in a variety of areas, such as electricity, ventilation and processes, are constantly evolving. My writing and summarising skills are also requested on a daily basis. Finally, my personal skills, such as communication (within a team and with the client), adaptability (when facing different clients and different ways of work), team spirit and self-management, are honed day by day.

Do you have any advice for future engineers?

Get involved and ask questions since there is no such thing as a stupid question, especially when one is just starting. Converse with your team, show your motivation and be honest. If you do not know something, do not hide it. Just say that you do not know and then look for the response.

Don’t be scared to come to Cherbourg, it’s great once you’re here! You just need to get involved a bit in the local life. It’s like the North, one cries when arriving (except for me!) and when leaving!