Women engineers, energy and nuclear waste

Jason Ford

News Editor

This week sees the Women Into Science, Engineering & Construction Awards taking place on Wednesday at IET in London.

Those of you familiar with The Engineer’s recent Women in Engineering supplement will have read Chi Onwurah MP’s assertion that out of the approximately 13 million working women in Britain only 5.3 per cent are employed in SET occupations. Compare this to almost one third of the UK’s 15.4 million male employees and you can see that WISE has something of a task on its hands.

The organization works with industry and education to inspire girls and attract them into STEM studies and careers. It seeks to alter the mindset of girls who don’t believe they’d be welcome in a technical career and does this via inspirational resources for girls, their teachers and parents; plus outreach days and work experience packages in companies.

Awards up for grabs include The WISE Excellence Award, WISE Champion Award and WISE Advisor Award. Good luck to all those shortlisted!

Birmingham this week hosts the World Class Process Safety Management for Power Generation.

The event, which takes place between October 18-20, aims to address issues in new build, mid-life and maturing assets, looking at how power plant operators execute a cost effective operation that maximises plant flexibility, life, and profitability.

The organiser cautions that without the implementation of robust process safety and integrity assurance principles, any commercial gains could be seriously jeopardised.

Attendees will learn how to apply the principles of process safety from industries such as oil and gas and chemicals as well as adopt the lessons learned from the nuclear industry. HSE will be on hand too to discuss health and safety strategy for power generators.

Confirmed case studies include Process Safety in the Nuclear Industry from Ian Seddon, head of health, safety, and environment, EDF Energy Nuclear Generation.

If EDF’s Sizewell B is anything to go by then it would appear that health and safety is fully ingrained into all that pass through its turnstiles.

Loughborough University hosts Geological Disposal of Radioactive Waste: Underpinning Science and Technology for Radioactive Waste from tomorrow.

The conference will bring together a number of distinguished, learned societies to showcase and publish research relevant to radioactive waste storage/disposal.

Specialists will be able to discuss the chemical, geological, hydrological, materials, engineering and other scientific/technological issues associated with the long term management of radioactive waste in the UK.

Wednesday sees the closing date for proposals from organizations seeking funding to develop sustainable materials for energy.

The call has went out in August to collaborative projects involving researchers from the US and UK under the Partnerships for International Research and Education programme (PIRE).

Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) says it expects to contribute up to £500,000 to co-fund between 2-3 projects. EPSRC expects to contribute up to £850,000.

The call defined Sustainable Materials for Energy as research that addresses novel technologies and processes by focussing resource and security of supply issues; governance and regulation issues in relation to the development of new energy options and their social acceptability; economics of novel material/processing options for energy generation technologies; and opportunity costs of adopting new materials, in particular where scarce resources are used.

People at the sharp end of climate change convene in London on Thursday at a CIWEM – CMS Conference entitled Coastal Flooding and Erosion Risk Management Understanding Change: Risk and Organisational Responses.

The event’s blurb says the conference will asses the past 18 months of new guidance, legislation and the changing emphasis of the government’s policies in coastal flood and erosion risk.

Attendees will also be able to use the event to develop their understanding of the risks to coastal communities, businesses and environment and the next steps that are needed.

The myriad of topics for discussion include the impacts of climate change in relation to storminess and rising sea levels, and a presentation looking at the Adapting to Climate Change Along England’s Southern shore (ACCESS) Project.

Finally, the Chinese city of Dalian hosts the Low Carbon Earth Summit 2011 (LCES-2011) from October 19-26.

The organizers say the summit is designed to support new business development with the opportunity to learn from others experiences in this field.

Similarly, attendees will be able to identify ways to play an even more active role in the control of global climate change, whilst innovators and entrepreneurs can learn how to seize further green investment opportunities.