Blunt and awkward

By ChrisAdams | footprints | February 15, 2012

It’s approaching that time, Mid-Secondment Appraisals, when all nucleargraduates pump out blogs to make sure they can put it on their self assessment forms, and I am no exception.

Unsure of what type of blog I should involve myself in writing, Greg Cooper said something to me today about some of the questions I’ve been asking recently.. then 3 hours later – click. That’s my topic! Awkward and blunt questions that others may not ask…

I should have a backlog of these but my memory (at the grand old age of 24) isn’t what it used to be, so I can only recall those I asked today…

… I’ll explain.

I’m a nucleargraduate. To those who have met nucleargraduates, and seen them in a room with other graduates from other schemes, you’d recognise us very quickly – we stand out like a sore thumb, for all the right reasons. There are a lot of graduates in this country who are phenomenally smart, much smarter than me, but many of them have one major infliction, limited interpersonal skills. Who knew that getting on a 2 year scheme having achieved a 1st class degree in your chosen geeky subject DOESN’T make you as cool as you think? It turns out – fewer people than you’d imagine.

Anyway, nucleargraduates. It’s an interesting structure, we’re trained by GENII, work within our sponsoring companies, then after 2 years of gathering industry knowledge and experience, settle back into our sponsoring companies. I’m sponsored by Rolls-Royce Civil Nuclear and I’m based in Warrington, I’ve been there 4 months and have had a very colourful experience so far, learning a lot to do with the world of work as well as Rolls-Royce as a company, and the nuclear industry too.

Getting to the point of awkward questions…

This past week I’ve been enrolled on a training programme to do with nuclear submarines to broaden my base of nuclear knowledge, which also enables me to assist in submarine work as and when required. During part of the training course we were told that during service and repairs for submarines, they are hooked up to a shore supply of electricity to help maintain the integrity of the nuclear core whilst work is going on. To everyone else on the training course, this obviously seemed like fairly straight forward and sensible information, but hooking a submarine up to the mains can’t be too different to hooking a caravan up. There will be a socket, a plug, and a wire. To me, the most obvious question was;

“What happens if the submarine’s power lines are cut?”

Primarily, it should be noted that before you got within half a mile of the submarine you have probably been on more CCTV cameras than you could count, and your identity checked and verified along with your security status by a horde of guards. But assume that was all fine and dandy, and you had some scissors in your pocket… what if?

It turns out there are many many backup systems in place from multiple areas which would kick into action if that occurred, so it really wouldn’t be a problem in any foreseeable circumstance, which is reassuring… but I wouldn’t know that if I hadn’t asked.

And nor would you.

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