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Experiences in Teaching Decommissioning

[+] Author Affiliations
Fred Catlow

Independent Consultant, UK

Paper No. ICEM2009-16179, pp. 671-683; 13 pages
doi:10.1115/ICEM2009-16179
From:
  • ASME 2009 12th International Conference on Environmental Remediation and Radioactive Waste Management
  • ASME 2009 12th International Conference on Environmental Remediation and Radioactive Waste Management, Volume 2
  • Liverpool, UK, October 11–15, 2009
  • Conference Sponsors: Nuclear Engineering Division and Environmental Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4408-3 | eISBN: 978-0-7918-3865-X
  • Copyright © 2009 by ASME

abstract

The paper describes the experience gained by the author in teaching decommissioning in the Highlands of Scotland. Initially when asked to teach the subject of decommissioning to students sitting for a BSc degree in “Electrical or Mechanical Engineering with Decommissioning Studies”, the author was taken aback, not having previously taught degree students and there was no precedent since there was no previous material or examples to build on. It was just as difficult for the students since whilst some had progressed from completing HND studies, the majority were employed at the Dounreay site and were mature students with families who were availing themselves of the opportunity for career advancement (CPD). Some of the students were from the UKAEA and its contractors whilst others were from Rolls-Royce working at Vulcan, the Royal Navy’s establishment for testing nuclear reactors for submarines. A number of the students had not been in a formal learning environment for many years. The College which had originally been funded by the UKAEA and the nuclear industry in the 1950’s was anxious to break into the new field of Decommissioning and were keen to promote these courses in order to support the work progressing on site. Many families in Thurso, and in Caithness, have a long tradition of working in the nuclear industry and it was thought at the time that expertise in nuclear decommissioning could be developed and indeed exported elsewhere. In addition the courses being promoted by the College would attract students from other parts so that a centre of excellence could be established. In parallel with formal teaching, online courses were also developed to extend the reach of the College. The material was developed as a mixture of power point presentations and formal notes and was obtained from existing literature, web searches and interactive discussions with people in the industry as well as case studies obtained from actual situations. Assignments were set and examination papers prepared which were validated by internal and external assessors. The first course was started in 2004 (believed to be unique at that time) and attracted eight students. Subsequent courses have been promoted as well as a BEng (Hons) course which also included a course on Safety and Reliability.

Copyright © 2009 by ASME

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