Feedback from our staff

TechnicAtome staff: skilful, agile teams who are committed to success.

Read what our employees have to say about their experience and enthusiasm for their job.

What is your job as an expert?

I’m a chemical engineer, based on the TechnicAtome Cadarache site. My main area of expertise is chemistry in the nuclear industry, especially in the design and operational phase of the facilities. It’s a job that actively contributes to safety by monitoring the integrity of circuits by means of periodic physical-chemical and radiochemical measurements.

I work on monitoring and operational maintenance for all the installations on the site, on the start-up of the on-shore reactor (RES) and its associated laboratory, and also on the optimization of existing processes. I work on processing events as long as they have some relation to chemistry. I’m also called upon during facility dismantling phases.

I manage a team of 4 chemical technicians in 3 laboratories in Cadarache and Cherbourg. 

What was your career like before you became an expert?

I graduated as an industrial chemistry engineer from the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers (CNAM). I’ve been working for TechnicAtome for 18 years, first as a chemical technician on the on-shore test reactor RNG and then on the nuclear aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle for the start-up of the two steam supply systems. I had the opportunity to work for on-board chemical laboratories on all types of nuclear-powered vessels in the French Navy. I also worked for 8 years as shift engineer on the AZUR pile in Cadarache. Since 2003 I have been in charge of the chemistry unit on the TechnicAtome Cadarache site. 

In addition to my job, I’m passing on my knowledge through the training that I provide to the chemists in the French Navy and INSTN.

What do you like most about your job?

The field of chemistry is varied and always changing. At TechnicAtome chemistry is a cross-cutting discipline over all the facilities: you get to know all the phases of design, qualification, operation and to talk to people with different profiles. It is an exciting, very diverse profession, and rewarding from the technical and human standpoints.

What is your job as an expert?

I am an I & C engineer based on the TechnicAtome Aix-en-Provence site. My mission as an I & C expert is to guarantee that the I & C architectures designed by TechnicAtome are compatible with the needs of the upstream activities such as safety, general operating and fluid systems. This role as a systems manufacturer involves understanding, translating and adapting the requirements of the projects to the technical imperatives related to producing our I & C systems.

In nuclear propulsion projects, I mainly work in the reactor design phase, but my role also extends to testing and supporting the operator, including system safety reassessments. In addition, for the tender phase in research reactor projects, I provide my view of the work to be done as a coherent whole.

What was your career like before you became an expert?

I graduated as an atomic engineer from INSTN in 2002. I first worked in the civil nuclear industry as a consultant for EDF for 5 years, particularly on safety studies and performance analysis of power reactors. In 2007, I had the opportunity to join TechnicAtome and learn about three areas: naval nuclear propulsion, I & C, and design phases. Initially, I worked exclusively on the Barracuda project, and then on many other projects such as the RES reactor, the JHR reactor, and the steam supply system for nuclear powered ballistic-missile submarines, in the R & D phases and also in trials. Today I am lucky enough to be involved in many different projects.

What do you like most about your job?

Curiosity has always been a driving force with me. My thirst for knowledge is today satisfied by a job that is very wide-ranging from a technical point of view, with interfaces that give me an overview of projects. In addition, TechnicAtome has given me the opportunity to share my profession and my knowledge through internal training courses, via the training centre.

What is your job as an expert?

I am an engineer in the field of metallic materials, based on the Technicatome Cadarache site. My mission as an expert has several components: to be available for staff, especially for mechanical work, to provide guidance in the choice of materials during the definition phase for example, or to solve manufacturing problems. I also provide my support for steam supply systems in service to perform metallurgical expert assessments on all types of components. And I take part in technical meetings with other group experts or specialists in the field to exchange feedback from experience or work in progress.

What was your career like before you became an expert?

I graduated from the Institut National Polytechnique de Grenoble in 2006, specializing in metallic materials. Before joining TechnicAtome on the Cadarache site in 2009, I worked for one year as a materials engineer in the railway industry, in a laboratory providing expert assessment and testing, and for another year after that in aeronautics on supply and manufacturing issues. With this background and these experiences, I developed expert assessment of materials in Cadarache, in particular with the creation in 2011 of an analysis laboratory. This laboratory allows specialists in the field to become more reactive and independent for many subjects requiring expert assessment.

What do you like most about your job?

I take part in several very different projects, mainly for nuclear propulsion or more cross-cutting activities, and to a lesser extent for civil nuclear projects too. My work is very diversified. I particularly enjoy expert assessment and suggesting improvements to products in operation. I also have the opportunity to propose innovations; for example the use of materials that are used in a new way in nuclear propulsion, based on uses that I have learnt from elsewhere, drawing on my experience in the railway and aeronautical industries. It's really a very fulfilling job.

What is your background?

I joined the French Navy at the age of 16, entering the apprentice sailors’ school in Brest. I spent a year learning the rules of army and navy life. Then I joined the school of electricians and volunteered for nuclear powered ballistic-missile submarines. I boarded the Redoutable for my first patrol in 1978. I had the equivalent of an advanced technician’s certificate as an electrician.

Subsequently, I joined the Navy’s nuclear power technician training programme. I had my first contact with TechnicAtome in January 1981 to obtain my nuclear power technician qualification during the PAT 33 internship. I then went on several operational patrols - 17 in all - during my career, totalling 23,000 hours of diving! I held various positions on board, in the steam supply system control team and then in the ship’s diving safety department. Then I became an instructor at the Brest school of submariners.

After 20 years in the Navy I joined TechnicAtome in August 1997 on the staff of the Reactor Operations Department at Cadarache.

There I started again at the bottom of the ladder as a shift electrician, and I went through the internal qualifications to become shift leader; in 2000 I qualified for the RNG facility. I took part in the start-up of the aircraft carrier Charles De Gaulle (as head of the aft steam supply unit) and of two nuclear powered ballistic-missile submarines: I was shift leader of the propulsion control panel when the Terrible went critical, and director of tests on the Vigilant.

When the RNG was shut down, I took up the functions of facility safety engineer of the Reactor Operations Department, then of Department Manager to supervise the construction of the machine section for the RES reactor project. In July 2015, I resumed my duties as shift supervisor for the commissioning of the RES.

Why did you choose this job? What made you want to work in this field?

Managing complex installations involves a wide range of activities: electricity, mechanics, safety, security, nuclear power, human factors, and without being specialized in each area, it requires cross-cutting knowledge. A reactor is run as a team and continuously, 24 hours a day. The job of shift supervisor makes perfect sense as he is the reference, both technical and managerial, for the team. I feel a real sense of pride at being part of the control team. It’s much the same sort of feeling you get as part of the crew of a submarine, where everyone is supportive of each other. In 20 years, I’ve never seen a team changeover fault!

In my job, what I like the most is the team spirit that we share. What I also like is that we have a fairly central role: whatever the operation to be carried out on the installation it has to be validated by the control team.

What would you like to say to a young person looking to do this job?

I would say that continuous service leads to a certain amount of inconvenience, such as working nights and weekends, respecting the shift schedule, and so on, but I would also say that it also has advantages, both financial and in terms of autonomy. More than anything else, it's a fascinating job, where you never get bored, that with time gives you cross-cutting skills and gives you plenty of prospects for career development.

What is your background at TechnicAtome? How long have you been working at this job?

I joined TechnicAtome on the Cadarache site at the age of 20 in February 2003, with an advanced technician’s certificate in industrial maintenance. After further training, I passed the internal qualifying exam to join the shift team on the RNG facility (nuclear propulsion on-shore reactor). I stayed there for 2 years as a reactor mechanic. During the periods when the RNG was inactive, I was assigned to its maintenance and this gave me a general understanding of the way the reactor works and how the steam is used.

Shortly before the final shutdown of the RNG in 2005, I joined the test loop hall as test facility operator and maintenance mechanic. Then I moved to the position of technical manager of the team (up to 8 people).

In 2014, I passed my qualification for operating the AZUR pile. In addition to my work on component testing, this qualification today means that I can take part in the neutron qualification of propulsion cores before they are loaded into submarines or the aircraft carrier. I also make adjustments to the control and safety absorber mechanisms.

Can you tell us about your missions, your responsibilities, and your daily work?

My day-to-day work as a test facility operator is to make use of the facilities for performing component tests in ambient conditions representative of reactors in service, while ensuring the safety and security.

My work requires the involvement of other professions, such as electricians, instrumentalists, acousticians and mechanics, and it requires many interfaces (operations managers, technical equipment managers, general management, etc.). I also help to draft the operating documentary repository, associated with the activity, with traceability and with the processing of events. I sometimes provide support to Civil Nuclear activities such as testing JHR reactor mechanisms carried out using special qualification test benches.

Why did you choose this job? What made you want to work in this field?

It’s a job that gives you a good grasp of many components and technologies. In 13 years I never felt like I was always doing the same thing, I took part in many tests for different projects and I met a lot of colleagues.

What would you like to say to a young person looking to do this job?

My job requires personal investment: you need to be interested and proactive, you have to enjoy looking for information, make contacts with people in order to understand. You also need to know how to be flexible because many interfaces and joint activities are involved, so you need to be able to adapt all the time. My job brings me a deeper human experience and gives me many reasons to be satisfied with my job.

What is your job as an expert?

I am a structural mechanics engineer, based on the TechnicAtome site in Aix-en-Provence. My main area of expertise is thermal-mechanical dimensioning and the dynamic behaviour of components and equipment. These areas are associated with the design and engineering of nuclear propulsion reactor systems and research reactors.

I work mainly as support to the prime contractor of the Jules Horowitz experimental reactor under construction in Cadarache, particularly for the issues of sizing the pile unit and related equipment.

What was your career like before you became an expert?

I graduated as an engineer from the Ecole Nationale Supérieure Hydraulique et Mécanique de Grenoble (ENSHMG, part of the Institut National Polytechnique de Grenoble), in 2002, specializing in design and mechanical dimensioning.

I chose my career path at the start of my secondary school studies. Different internships during my graduate studies, mainly in the field of special machines (tools, equipment, and prototype cells) and the nuclear industry confirmed this choice. I was able to gradually specialize in the field of mechanical dimensioning of structures.

I then worked for 5 years in an engineering company for CEA, AREVA and EDF in the field of nuclear structures, and for other companies in the hydroelectric, petrochemical and industrial maritime industry sectors.

With these professional experiences behind me, in 2007 I joined TechnicAtome's mechanical and vibro-acoustic dimensioning department in Aix en Provence. I have been working there as a mechanical dimensioning engineer for 8 years.

The subjects I was given to deal with in the field of nuclear propulsion reactors and experimental reactors have allowed me to acquire more in-depth knowledge. I took part in different stages of the projects and was in contact with all the different professions involved.

What do you like most about your job?

The equipment we work on at TechnicAtome is unique. It requires input from all scientific and technical fields to design, produce and operate them.

My job involves defining a “sensitive” component. It is in direct contact with the upstream and downstream phases of the component, which is what makes it interesting, apart from the specific technical features of the job.

I’m mainly interested in numerical simulation, to understand the behaviour of components in different situations, some of which would not be possible to obtain by testing.

What is your job as an expert?

I am an engineer specializing in thermal engineering, based on the TechnicAtome site of Aix-en-Provence. My main area of expertise is thermal-hydraulics, and my job is to supervise nuclear propulsion projects from the standpoint of thermal-hydraulic issues related to safety aspects.

I am currently working on supervising studies on projects for new propulsion reactors, the future programme of the RES test reactor, and also on safety instructions as part of the Barracuda project. I also deal with thermal-hydraulic problems concerning steam supply systems in service during the safety reassessment phase.

What was your career like before you became an expert?

I graduated from the Ecole Centrale de Marseille (formerly ESIM) in thermal engineering and graduated from the Institut National des Sciences et Techniques (INTSN) in Cadarache in atomic engineering. I also did a year of neutron studies at CEA Saclay. I joined TechnicAtome in 1994 as a Thermal-Hydraulic Engineer, and was then assigned to core projects related to the RNG shore test reactor. I then worked on R & D studies to support computer codes in the field of core thermal-hydraulics. Then I became a technical operations manager within my sector, then in the Barracuda project, before tackling R&D projects on future steam supply systems. In recent years I have refocused on my core activity, and I work with nuclear propulsion projects in the design/processing/safety reassessment phases.

What do you like most about your job?

The advantage of being in a people-friendly company such as TechnicAtome is that in addition to our own engineering work we have the opportunity to discover interfaces with many other jobs, and we deal with many different issues.

In 20 years of working in TechnicAtome, I have enjoyed a very varied professional experience and done a lot of things; in a larger industrial group I would have had to be transferred several times to get so much experience.

In my job for example, I have been able to work on a very wide variety of thermal-hydraulic subjects, such as fuels and cores (especially the departure from nucleate boiling risk), protection of the primary circuit and the containment against overpressure, or 3D calculation codes on certain large components. I have carried out sea trials on board boats and taken part in experimental programmes. I have myself performed in Cadarache the experiments I had previously thought up in my office in Aix. It's really very rewarding on a professional level: you learn more and more all the time, while taking part in strategic projects.

What is your job as an expert?

I am an electrical engineer, based on the TechnicAtome Cadarache site. My main area of expertise is electricity, including networks and electrical systems for nuclear reactors. On various projects I contribute to studies, verifications, the choice of technical options, design reviews and estimate validations.  

One of my expert missions concerns the development of TechnicAtome’s technical repository for electrical systems in research reactors. This includes appropriating the international standards IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) and IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers).

What was your career like before you became an expert?

I graduated from the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Ingénieurs Electriciens in Grenoble in 1998. I started at TechnicAtome as soon as I had graduated, as a military trainee working on the electrical distribution network of the nuclear aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle. I then worked on the RES project in Cadarache on electrical systems from design to commissioning. I was in charge of the electrical plant. Since 2014, I am the delegated manager of the Electrical Systems and Equipment Unit, in charge of technical projects related to the electricity speciality in civil nuclear energy. 

I spent two periods away from TechnicAtome. From 2000 to 2002, I was in charge of electrical work for the Percy military hospital in the Paris region. Then from 2011 to 2014, I was seconded to AREVA NP Gmbh in Offenbach, Germany, within the Engineering and Projects (E & P) Division, as technical manager of the electrical systems for the ASTRID nuclear island (Generation IV fast neutron nuclear reactor project).

What do you like most about your job?

Electrical systems and equipment are a vast, rewarding and dynamic technical field, with system problems, many and varied pieces of equipment, and computational aspects. For example, I may be involved in the different phases of projects from preliminary design to operational maintenance, with studies, production, commissioning and expert assessment. I also work with many people from different horizons: electricians, suppliers, quality, inspections, customers, etc.