What, this old thing? It’s vintage…

By Mandy Lester | lightbulbs | October 6, 2011

The fact is, a lot of the nuclear industry, from power stations to submarines, is about looking after old stuff.

Keeping it going and when it falls over, giving it a bit of TLC to get it going again.
Maintenance engineering can be a tricky business – often knowing what’s gone wrong is a matter of experience, so knowing who to talk to is really important.

Networking is something most students and graduates associate with wine receptions followed by a slick powerpoint on the virtues of accountancy or consultancy. Not with having a brew with your Systems Engineer before heading out to plant. But in working life, chatting to people and storing away nuggets about their experience can be crucial when you need to pick someone’s brains about a bit of kit.

Sadly, with our hefty systems, no amount of experience is a magic wand to fix every problem instantly.

That’s why we have engineers of the past to thank for building so much redundancy into our systems – when one component has a problem, there’s another to do its job while it’s off sick. And where nuclear safety is concerned, that’s very reassuring.

There’s a lot of glamour about designing something fresh and completely new, but there’s also excitement and satisfaction in making good a vintage model.

And in these cash-strapped times, perhaps a bit of make-do and mend isn’t a bad thing.

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