Myra Cooke

Myra Cooke

Nuclear Technician

Myra's job title is Health Physics Technician at UK Atomic Energy Authority

What I do

My job is to ensure that radiation protection and safety measures are in place so that the entire plant is safe. I have an access all areas pass, which means one day I might be working in the fusion machine hall, while another day I might be working in the materials research facility.

Radiation sign

Hear more about Myra's role by watching the video below...

How I became a technician

A typical day in my
working life

A little more about
my everyday role

What I love most about my job

My favourite part of the job is getting to access all areas of the site, it never grows old. Knowing that my job matters and is key to supporting the fusion research is what gets me up in the morning! Another part that I enjoy is that we have to control the shielded doors - they are very thick - and we have to make sure that when the machine is pulsing that there is no extra dose if you are nearby. We ensure doses are kept way lower than the legal limits and we try to work to even higher standards than the law requires.

The best bits about working in a team

I work in a team of eight technicians and have another 10 people who work on the paperwork side in the offices, in compliance. The best thing about working in a team is that we are always there to help each other out - things can change very quickly, you can be very quiet one minute and the next very busy, so it’s great to have that support. Some of the team are older and have a lot of knowledge and experience to pass on.

My work wear

At times, for our higher-level work, we wear pressurised suits so that the air doesn’t have any tritium gas in it. The pressurised suit is like a large see-through plastic suit which covers everywhere. It has a tail which has an air-line on it. It is inflated via filters on the back.

My favourite piece of equipment

Some of our daily tasks are pretty exciting, like working on cranes. I'm in awe of the fusion machine itself which is amazing - it would fill a sports hall. Sometimes I have been up the crane because they are replacing a seal on the big yellow doors, other times we use it for monitoring.

The most exciting thing I’ve achieved so far in my job

Last year I was really proud when we finished a series of record-breaking experiments, and I was the first person to enter the hall where the experiments took place. It filled me with awe at what we had achieved.

The next steps in my career journey

I am very happy where I am at the moment, particularly given the goals of the organisation. In the future we have plenty of other fusion machines that are being built – including one in France. I would definitely like to stay in this industry.

The advice I'd give
to someone younger

The advice I’d like to pass on is: Everything will fall into place if you take opportunities when they come your way. Put yourself out of your comfort zone and you will grow as a person.

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