[Fem’Energia 2021] Meet Naval Group’s nuclear safety team

15 November 2021 Corporate social responsibility Human ressources Story

Based on the sites of Brest, Toulon and Cherbourg, Naval Group’s Nuclear Safety (SN) department teams conduct nuclear safety studies on ships and port infrastructure on the three French naval bases. They then present these analyses in committees to the government authorities that issue operating licences.
And, at Naval Group, the SN department encourages female talent! This year, twelve female employees entered the Fem'Energia team competition. This award is organised by the WiN (Woman in Nuclear) France association in partnership with EDF and rewards women who are passionate about the sector.

Find out more about our top female team specialised in the nuclear safety of naval base infrastructures.

[Fem’Energia 2021] Meeting up with Élodie and Margaux, Nuclear Safety engineers

Élodie is a Nuclear Safety Cross-functional Manager on the Brest naval base, and Margaux has been working as Nuclear Safety Cross-functional team member on the Toulon naval base since the summer. Their job consists in managing and conduction nuclear safety studies on submarine docking infrastructures. Together with ten other female co-workers from the SN department, they took part in the 2021 edition of Fem'Energia, which rewards women involved in the nuclear industry every year.

What do you do?

Élodie: I am in charge of supervising nuclear safety studies on ship support infrastructures - both in production and in operation - at the Brest naval base, but I also provide support to the team in Toulon on the Barracuda program. Our studies involve all types of infrastructures - electrical stations, pumping stations, handling equipment, etc. - as well as those from the Secret Basic Nuclear Installation (SNBI). They feed into the nuclear safety report for the French Defence Nuclear Safety Authority (ASND) - the body that authorises the construction or operation of port infrastructures on the three French naval bases.
Margaux: As a team member, I am in charge of conducting the studies Élodie mentioned. After working on the Barracuda program on the site of Cherbourg for four and a half years, I joined the Toulon team at the end of August. There, they are busy refitting the support infrastructures intended for nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSN): they need to be sized for Barracuda SSNs, while continuing to accommodate the Rubis SSNs.

What drew you to the nuclear industry? And to Naval Group?

Élodie: For my part, I landed in the nuclear sector pretty much by chance! After graduating as an engineer in the field of environment and starting my career in water treatment, I decided I wanted more of a challenge. I decided to resume my studies and applied for the nuclear safety expert specialised master's degree at the École nationale supérieure d'arts et métiers in Aix-en-Provence. I quickly became passionate about the course and realised I had found my calling! I joined Naval Group immediately afterwards; that was ten years ago!
Margaux: As for me, I became passionate about the sector when I was in secondary school. I was fascinated by the technical world but also by social and human issues, and the nuclear sector combines all of these aspects. As a student, I chose to study at the École des Mines in Nantes, which offers a major in nuclear energy covering all of the above. I discovered Naval Group and nuclear power applied to naval defence during a school project on the Naval Group site of Nantes-Indret. And again, I chose Naval Group for my end-of-study internship, which I did on the site of Cherbourg, where I assisted the Installation Manager in charge of the completion of works on the Suffren in 2017.

What do you like about your job?

Élodie: We address a wide variety of subjects and have the opportunity to work in all areas of expertise. Engineers in the design office, installation managers, customers: we are in contact with a lot of people! I really enjoy the fact that I get to interact with people, but I also like the educational dimension of our job: you have to be able to explain what you are doing and why. And of course, the world in which we work is fascinating. We are very fortunate to be working at the naval base and to be able to visit the shipyards and see the ships up close.
Margaux: Yes, as Élodie said, this diversity of subjects and fields of study is a real asset. You never get bored! Given our cross-functional position, we are in direct contact with many different profiles of employees. In our department, we are not restricted to one particular program: we help each other out on the various projects. And, at Naval Group, you can evolve, transfer from one site to another: that’s such an advantage!

Tell us about your team participating in the Fem'Energia 2021 competition?

Élodie: It was interesting and enriching! We all had to introduce ourselves, talk about our jobs and draw up a joint project. I enjoyed working on various media such as short videos. We had a great time with the other girls from the department.
Margaux: I enjoyed the opportunity we got to exchange views on our profession. We realised that we sometimes had different opinions on things. It was interesting to compare our points of view. And since I was preparing to move to the site of Toulon, this experience came at the right time: it was the perfect opportunity to get to know my future team better.