Cogent reports on the ‘Nuclear Island’ project

Posted on 22 Jun 2011 by The Manufacturer

Cogent, the Sector Skills Council for the Chemicals, Pharmaceuticals, Nuclear, Oil and Gas, Petroleum and Polymer Industries reports on a unique new project.

A partnership of Imperial College London, Constructionarium, Cogent Sector Skills Council, Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB) and Construction Skills, received funding from the National HE STEM Programme and the Royal Academy of Engineering to develop the Nuclear Island programme.

The programme will be run from the established Constructionarium facility at Bircham Newton in Norfolk and builds on good working practice in the civil engineering sector where scaled down models of large builds are already performed by students

Although all the students that attended were from Imperial College, part of the University of London, Cogent and its partners have plans to expand to include students from at least five other Universities across the country: The University of Birmingham, Leeds University, Bridgwater College, Somerset, The University of Manchester and Glyndŵr University, Wales.

Dr Caroline Sudworth, Science and Higher Level Skills development manager at Cogent for the past two years, explained what the project entails: ““The nuclear island project is carried out as a scale down full construction of a nuclear core; Students are on an active construction site for a full week, with the nuclear island embedding additional nuclear behaviours including site security – we had some other students protesting at the gates – but also embedding additional quality and construction tests.”

Cogent emphasises that the Nuclear Island programme is acting to enable students think about climate change – it allows them to make up their own mind about nuclear – and it ensures there is a balanced argument (in line with UK Government policy). Attending students are also put through a mock up “public consultation”, where they act as engineers, local residents, protestors etc. In addition, they also see clips of high profile people with differing viewpoints on nuclear so they can see the reality of the nuclear arguments.

For a more detailed account of the project, go to the interview with Dr Caroline Sudworth on our blogs page.

George Archer