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Insights What's so great about joining AtkinsRéalis in Nuclear & Power?

Meet Mel, a Senior Mechanical Engineer at AtkinsRéalis who blends her passion for engineering and commitment to a sustainable society. With a career spanning over a decade in engineering consultancies, Mel brings a wealth of experience in design, development, safety, and risk management, particularly in the defense and power industries. In this blog, we follow Mel from marine biology to mechanical engineering and her insights into the nuclear sector.

Photo of Mel smiling towards the camera

What led you to your role as Senior Mechanical Engineer with AtkinsRéalis?

In 1997, I graduated with a Marine Biology degree but took time out to get married and have a family. When my two children were in full-time education, I started my second degree in Mechanical & Marine Engineering. I graduated in 2007, began employment with an engineering consultancy, and have been employed by several consultancies. I am a member of the UK Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) and became a Chartered Engineer in 2016.

The consultancy environment has provided me with the opportunity to work on a variety of projects, varying from being based at a client's site, being on secondment and embedded in a multidiscipline team, to only requiring the occasional site visit. The most fast-paced projects I have been involved with were nuclear plant inspections and modifications, where data was collected, modifications were formulated and deployed, and ultimately, the plant life was extended, which was the objective.

Other roles have been technically challenging, where legacy designs required assessing and updating to today's standards before fabrication and implementation. I am now employed by AtkinsRéalis and working on a decommissioning project with other consultancy partners to clean up some legacy waste in a nuclear environment using remote operations.

What does working in the nuclear sector mean to you?

Photo of Mel working

Working in the nuclear sector is a great responsibility, and I do my best to provide solutions to the client's problems. It is a challenging environment to work in, with sometimes very complex issues that seem unfathomable. But the feeling of job satisfaction, of a job well done, when the job is completed, makes me very happy.

Can we really 'engineer a better future'?

The term' engineer a better future' sounds fuzzy and vague, but the message becomes clearer if you break it down into simpler parts. A 'better future' has connotations that things are currently bad but that we can improve them and make things better. The term 'engineer' has two meanings: a role for a person and a process. In the context of 'engineering a better future,' it basically means we have the process to make things better, or to make things better, we will find a process.

"As a mechanical engineer, that's what I call 'day job' stuff—that's my whole purpose. It's my mindset to make things better. It's a purpose I share with AtkinsRéalis, so yes, we can 'engineer a better future.'"
—Mel, Senior Mechanical Engineer, Nuclear & Power

Why is it a great time for mechanical engineers to join us in Nuclear & Power?

It's an exciting time to work here because, right now, the Decommissioning & Waste Services (DWS) teams are growing and diversifying, which is great. They're actively looking to hire a real mix of people to add to the contingent and expand, as we have significant projects on the horizon. With AtkinsRéalis, you will have the opportunities to align your career goals with the projects you'll be involved with so you can grow professionally. We're a terrific team of diverse and inclusive colleagues, mixing humor and mutual respect, mentoring each other, and celebrating our achievements together. Nuclear & Power is a fantastic place to work!

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