Real projects. Real skills. AREVA NP internships provide practical experience to college students across the U.S.

It’s August now, and we’re not just saying good-bye to summer, we’re saying farewell and best wishes to the 22 enthusiastic students who participated in our 2017 Summer Internship Program. Working at locations across the U.S., and hailing from a variety of schools and majors, our interns had one experience in common – working on real projects and developing real skills to take with them back to school and into the workforce.

In addition to providing professional experience, we hoped to spark in these students a greater knowledge and passion for nuclear energy. Today’s students are our future workforce and clean energy advocates who will solve tomorrow’s energy challenges. One intern shared, “I did not have any prior nuclear background; this internship really opened my eyes to the whole industry.” While another student stated, “I wanted to gain valuable industry experience this summer in order to determine whether I would want to continue in academia and research, or go straight into the industry after graduating next year. I feel like this internship was very successful in exposing me to the energy industry and meeting my needs in regards to the technical skills for nuclear energy I wanted to develop.”

Read on to hear directly from several of our interns what the experience meant to them:

Kirk Mans, Electrical Engineering – Installed Base, Charlotte, N.C.

What project(s) did you work on during your internship?

“The projects I worked on included a replacement steam generator project for a southern utility and a variable frequency project for a northeast utility.”

What was the most valuable lesson you’ll take away?

The most valuable lesson I will take away is one of communication. In order for big picture projects to get done, each group must work in a cohesive way to communicate essential information between disciplines. No matter what information you learn, it may be vital to share to the group as a whole in order to prevent future setbacks from occurring.”

How will your time at AREVA NP help you in the future – in your education or career?

“I believe this experience has helped me to further develop my soft skills in the workplace. This will translate to both my education and future career. I think that the leadership and communication I was exposed to AREVA NP will act as a guide for me as I progress through life.”

What would you tell a family member or friend about the nuclear industry?

“I would tell them to not be as quick to judge nuclear as a power source. There’s a lot going on behind the scenes to ensure the safety of the public and environment. Before you agree with those that believe nuclear is a “non-green” or “unsafe” energy source, come to a conclusion on your own by doing a little research.”

Michelle Rudd, Civil/Structural Engineering – Installed Base, Marlborough, Mass.

What project(s) did you work on during your internship?

“I used the GT Strudl to model and perform the structural analysis for a southwest utility of two steel platforms, which support the feedwater heaters to the condensers. My involvement included generating an existing structural model as well as various proposed designs to determine the structural effects of the feedwater heater replacements.”

What was the most valuable lesson you’ll take away?

“This internship has allowed me to more fully realize the importance of seeking out opportunities, utilizing available resources and viewing every interaction as an experience to learn and grow. Developing oneself not only in technical competencies but also in interpersonal and leadership skills is crucial for any engineer who desires to advance. Asking questions, taking (reasonable) risks and stepping outside of one’s comfort zone are all of great – and critical – value.”

How will your time at AREVA NP help you in the future – in your education or career?

“My time at AREVA NP has helped me to gain a greater understanding of how to approach engineering design problems and find practical solutions. Seeing the engineering profession from a business viewpoint has been eye-opening. It’s not enough to find a solution that meets design code, for example, but solutions must take into consideration a whole array of elements – material cost, time, machinery capabilities, safety regulations, etc.”

What would you tell a family member or friend about the nuclear industry?

“The nuclear industry is a powerful environment (pun intended). The electricity generation is remarkably efficient, environmentally conscious and economically beneficial, in respect to competing sources of energy production. Additionally, there exists a strong emphasis on safety and accountability to uphold the strict regulations which surround the nuclear field and any nuclear-related engineering design. (Allowing one to sleep soundly – and radiation free – at night).”

Taylor Heeg, BWR Mechanics – Fuel, Richland, Wash.

What project(s) did you work on during your internship?

“I mainly worked on improving the process of creating data transmittals. I updated and maintained a database of all the relevant parameters and information my group frequently sends to different engineering organizations, the supply chain, manufacturing and quality. The database also has the capability to complete data transmittals almost automatically, saving my department time and money.”

What was the most valuable lesson you’ll take away?

“I’ve learned so much about the nuclear industry, and I’d say that was extremely valuable to me as a senior in college, because I will soon be deciding what industry to look for jobs”.

How will your time at AREVA NP help you in the future – in your education or career?

“My time at AREVA NP has allowed me to experience so many new things that influence my career and education. It confirms my belief in my energy minor. I’ve gained workplace experience. It has allowed me to explore an industry, lifestyle and location I’ve never known before.”

What would you tell a family member or friend about the nuclear industry?

“It’s so complicated, but so fascinating. The history, the industry, the role the government plays, energy policies, the economic aspect, the regulations, the relationship between other energy types – everything is so foreign to most people, but here it’s like a bubble of knowledge.”

Lucas Wheelock, I&C Product Development, Lynchburg, Va.

What project(s) did you work on during your internship?

“I worked on the Traversing In-Core Probe Tester And Plant Simulator (TIP-TAPS). It is a system that will be used to test the functionality of certain plant equipment and can be used for troubleshooting.”

What was the most valuable lesson you’ll take away?

“This internship taught me that your on-the-job performance is vastly more important that your college GPA.”

How will your time at AREVA NP help you in the future – in your education or career?

“It has helped me determine what I want to do after college and taught me how to apply what I learned in school.”

What would you tell a family member or friend about the nuclear industry?

“This is an industry that is going to stay in the energy world and needs to stay. It provides an extremely reliable and steady source of power and needs to be invested in by the government.”