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Insights How to Take Your Passion for Net Zero and Engineer a Better Future

David Euser is the General Manager of New Reactors & New Markets at Candu Energy, a member of the AtkinsRéalis Group. He and his colleagues are designing and building the next generation of power plants to reduce our need for fossil fuels. Their work takes them on projects across Canada and overseas. They also continuously develop our CANDU® technology to make it an even more attractive offering, like helping to design new facilities to advance research into new materials needed for upcoming advanced reactor designs.

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Dave, what led you to work in the Engineering Net Zero space?

Honestly, I fell into it – though it's become something I'm passionate about. I spent the early part of my career in the railway sector, and since 2012 I've been working in Nuclear. Reducing emissions through public transit and building infrastructure to get us off carbon-producing energy sources naturally ties into the goals of Engineering Net Zero. There are huge opportunities to learn and grow in the space and many talented people to meet and work with – aspects I've always valued in my career.

What are your teams doing that's interesting?

We are looking very carefully at how Nuclear Power can generate clean electricity and be used as an enabler for other technologies. We are working to answer questions: How can we produce hydrogen without methane? Can we reuse steam for heating and chemical processes in commercial and industrial applications? Are there ways to make a nuclear power plant a better companion to intermittent energy sources like wind and solar? Can we remove fossil fuels from our emergency backup generators? How can the latest digital design tools help us deliver faster and more cost-effectively? Can we build medical isotope production into a reactor in a way that makes it transparent to the operator?

How are your teams inspiring you?

I'm constantly amazed by my teams' energy and passion for showcasing the unique abilities of AtkinsRéalis worldwide. Every day they present new ideas, many of which are turning into projects with real applications. The world is seeing the urgent need for a set of net zero pathways, so the demand for our work is constantly increasing.

What is your biggest concern about the future?

I am worried we aren't moving fast enough. The current state of planning for the major projects we need to keep total carbon levels low enough to avoid catastrophic damage to the planet is in the early stages across the board. A few countries have made some initial steps but seem to be taking a "wait and see" approach to how these early projects deliver before ramping up. As a proud Canadian, I believe we can lead from the front and show the world how an energy transition can happen, using all the tools in our collective toolboxes, and then export that knowledge to the rest of the world as we learn – not waiting until 2050 to see if our slice of the pizza was a success or not.

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What makes you confident that AtkinsRéalis can make a tangible difference?

Our global organization is actively working together to share what we are learning across North America and EMEA. We aren't just connecting our nuclear colleagues but also working closely with experts in other areas, such as decarbonization and transportation, to deliver end-to-end solutions. I can see customers coming to us to help them understand how to build a specific type of project and also how to navigate the path to get there. It's exciting to be part of a global organization focused on really making a difference.

How do you bring your passion for Engineering Net Zero to life?

I love to talk to family and friends about this – the easiest way we can all make a difference is to advocate in public, to the point that the politicians hear loud and clear that the public is demanding the investments required to really move the needle. Helping people to learn that Nuclear is not scary – it is clean, safe, and reliable, and a large part of our current energy supply is one part of this. A general understanding of the magnitude of the problem we face and the urgent need to improve is also an important message. On a more practical side, I'm looking forward to seeing ground broken in Canada and overseas on new nuclear projects in the near future.

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