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Our People – Jamie Culshaw, nuclear safety inspector and chemistry specialist

Today, we learn more about Jamie Culshaw, who is a chemistry inspector for ONR and heavily involved in our graphite core assessments for operating power stations.

Jamie joined ONR eight years ago after securing a degree and then PhD in chemistry at the University of Liverpool, subsequently gaining a place on our nuclear graduate scheme which sees successful candidates working towards a relevant chartered status and developing the skills required to succeed within the organisation.

Jamie was the first nuclear graduate to join ONR before we began sponsoring the programme in 2014.

The 36-year-old specialises in chemistry and our assessments of graphite weight loss safety cases across the UK's Advanced Gas-Cooled Reactors (AGR) fleet.

Graphite can lose weight at reactors as bricks age and their properties change due to interaction with the radiation environment and the reactor coolant.

This leads to rigorous checks and EDF having to demonstrate they have adequate understanding of the graphite behaviour to justify continued safe operation.

This latter work is essential to support public confidence that the AGR power stations remain safe to operate, as they each approach  their specific end of generation dates in the coming years.

In terms of his chemistry work, Jamie is involved in inspections at the EDF sites as ONR regulates the control of chemical hazards present on nuclear facilities and other key issues including the effects of chemistry in the degradation of materials that have a key role in ensuring nuclear safety.

Visiting every site within the UK's AGR fleet on a rolling basis, inspections are scheduled at different plants, specifically focused on the implementation of chemistry in the safety case and control on plant. This includes aspects of chemistry and radiochemistry.

Jamie said: "Having a visual presence is a massive part of being a regulator.

"There's no substitute with being in the room with someone when you're having those important conversations, trying to get confidence in them as an individual."

Jamie, who lives in Liverpool, works principally with ONR's Operating Facilities Division.

The dad-of-three said: "I really like working for ONR. It's technically interesting, challenging, and not always easy.

"But the people you work with are genuinely nice and there to help."

Outside of work, Jamie spends most of his time being a dad with his three small children, 'taking them back and forth from football training camps every Saturday or Sunday morning.’

"I watch both my son and daughter playing football and then it's off to swimming classes in the afternoon – our social lives revolve around them, which is great, to be fair."

Inspired to join the ONR team? Visit our job vacancies portal for details of current roles or to sign up for email alerts on future opportunities.