Angela started her working life at the Central Electricity Generating Board (CEGB) as a public relations assistant but her career path has led to the role of radiation protection.
I was employed as a public relations assistant working in an exhibition centre attached to a nuclear power station. As well as looking after the exhibition and showing visitors around it, my work involved going into schools and giving talks on understanding electricity and also various shows and exhibitions talking with the general public about power generation, in particular, nuclear power.
It was during one of those shows that health physicist from the power station suggested that I should apply for the post of health physics monitor. Nothing could have been further from my mind but with his encouragement, I applied, and to my surprised, got the job.
After an intense period of classroom training, I began working in the health physics department. My work involved dosimetry, district survey, waste processing, surveying, instrument calibration and emergency preparedness.
The work at the power station was varied, stimulating, sometimes challenging and I loved it. I was, at that time, the only female health physics monitor but was always treated equally to my male counterparts. There were many opportunities for training, both in-house and externally. While at the power station, I completed City & Guilds stages 1 and 2 in radiation protection and also the National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health (NEBOSH) safety certificate.
My next job in the nuclear industry was with a radiopharmaceutical company. I started by providing health physics support to a major decommissioning project and progressed to being an area health physicist supporting areas as diverse as research and development, waste and decommissioning and manufacturing. As with the power station, it was very interesting, varied work and again, offered plenty of training opportunities.
External training included the Health Protection Agency modules in radiation protection (previously the National Radiation Protection Board’s postgraduate radiation protection training course) and a radiation protection summer school at Cambridge.
In January 2009, I began working at the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority’s nuclear fusion research laboratory and am currently putting together my radiation protection adviser (RPA) portfolio with a view to becoming an accredited RPA within the next two years.
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