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First-hand account from Boris Supiot, an engineer at AREVA

Boris SupiotFirst-hand account from Boris Supiot, an engineer at AREVA

 What is your background?

I graduated from Grenoble INP - Phelma in 2004, having chosen nuclear physics as my specialism. My initial motivation was curiosity in the discipline, which deals with the infinitely small and seemed to defy common sense. One thing led to another, and although at first I had been drawn towards a career in science, I soon realised that industry could continue to sate my curiosity whilst also offering other attractions.

I started to work in the field of neutronics and thermal hydraulics for AREVA. I then worked for three years as a project engineer at ATMEA (a joint-venture between AREVA and Mitsubishi) on designing a nuclear reactor in collaboration with teams from France, Germany and Japan.

I am still at AREVA, where I have now moved towards the construction of reactors: building a plant requires the support of a number of companies specialising in mechanics, electronics, civil engineering, etc., all of which go on to a site and assemble the various items of equipment. The work is just as interesting as design work - and the design office - because we are closer to the ground.

In addition to my professional activities, I am also a member of an association that is very active in the area, the SFEN (French Nuclear Energy Society). The SFEN Young Generation section (www.sfenjg.org) brings together young professionals from all the nuclear companies (AREVA, CEA², EDF, GDF-SUEZ, etc.). We carry out numerous projects, such as organising visits, interviewing personalities and running a major international conference called Atoms for the Future. It is a tremendous opportunity for meeting colleagues in a friendly environment.

Would you encourage future engineers to work in this field?

Of course I would! The various professions in the nuclear industry are exciting. There is something to suit everybody's taste: pondering problems, action, working overseas, etc. There is a great diversity of professions in the industry, and you can change tack during the course of your career, whether in neutronics, mechanics, civil engineering, IT, etc., and these changes are very rewarding. You can work on projects, if that is what you want to do, or move towards marketing or sales positions. And all this can be done in France or abroad.
In short, it is a very rich career!

Do you have a message for people who criticise the nuclear sector?

I would advise them to be clear about exactly who the enemy is. The nuclear sector helps to limit the problems of the greenhouse effect: for example, France produces 1 kWh for every 80g of CO2 that it discharges, whilst Germany discharges five times as much for the same amount of electricity. In economic terms, because the nuclear sector produces electricity at the lowest cost, it represents a real asset for our businesses and a great advantage for private individuals. The problem of waste, which is often emphasised, can be solved in various ways, and a great number of engineers are working on this very subject. In addition, in contrast to all forms of carbon energy (oil, etc.), nuclear waste is very heavily controlled. Since everything has been put in place to guarantee safety, the nuclear sector is an essential source of energy if we want to finally reconcile economic development and respect for the environment.

 

 







Date of update April 22, 2013

Univ. Grenoble Alpes