MSc EMINE – European Master’s in Nuclear Energy

Student – Hanna Schlegel

Graduate – Chirayu Batra

Graduate – Eirik Eide Pettersen

Student – Hanna Schlegel

Hanna

Name: Hanna Schlegel
Nationality: Germany/South Africa
Name of Master’s Programme: MSc EMINE
Current University: KTH Stockholm

MSc EMINE student Hanna Schlegel is in her first year, already taking full advantage of all the “extras” that the InnoEnergy Master’s School offers its students. Between extensive studies, working on exciting projects and attending events, she’s also active in the InnoEnergy CommUnity – this is one student who is truly embracing the full Master’s School experience.

 

Why did you choose the MSc EMINE programme?

I wanted to be on the ‘cutting edge’ of nuclear engineering since I first started investigating it in my teens. I think it’s an amazing technology with a lot of potential; and the more we know, the more safely and effectively we can utilize it. When researching master’s programmes in nuclear energy I came across the MSc EMINE programme. I was so impressed by the integration of energy engineering, business and sustainability, that I actually only applied to the Master’s School. And I’m very happy I did!

How do you find the integration of business and entrepreneurship in the programme?

I like that InnoEnergy keeps the doors open for us to learn about the start-up’s affiliated with them. It’s inspiring to see what your idea could turn into. I am currently still in my first year, and our summer school is coming up – where we will be most involved with business and entrepreneurship in our field. It’s an exciting time for me as I’ve always had an interest in the business and entrepreneurial side of things. I think they all tie in together and the programme really emphasises that.

Why are you interested in sustainable energy? Do you have any specific passion within this field?

I come from South Africa – where coal is cheap, high grade and readily available, and mining constitutes a large part of the economic activity. Air pollution and environmental degradation is already evident, and the only way to stop the destruction of beautiful countries like South Africa – without hindering their development – is to implement sustainable energy. As South Africa is resource-rich (wind and solar), this seems like an obvious answer; but without industry interest and economic reasoning, it’s not so easy. My particular passion is to bring clean energy to developing nations, to get their development on a sustainable track.

Do you feel you were able to interact with InnoEnergy start-ups and industry partners during your studies so far?

Yes, for example, MSc EMINE Stockholm students have been invited to attend the celebration of achieved funding for a nuclear energy start-up called LeadCold. At all of the many InnoEnergy events (speakers series, KICK OFF, CommUnity and InnoEnergy start-up events – just to name a few), there are lots of industry partners and start-up representatives that talk to us and tell us their stories. This is very exciting for us!

Tell us your favourite parts of the curriculum – what sets the InnoEnergy Master’s School apart, in your opinion?

I’ve really enjoyed the highly customised curriculum and taken full advantage. I don’t think it’s good to corner yourself into one specific field or area.

Also, the project-based learning – we’ve had some very interesting projects that allow us to use our own creativity to solve real-life problems. I love this applicable learn-by-doing!

Another plus is the individual learning – that’s been really useful, especially as there’s a lot going on. They record the lectures so you can catch up and be as pro-active as you like.

Last but not least, the in-field courses  – one of the coolest things. Getting to work on an actual nuclear reactor In France?! Amazing. It really helps you to truly understand by this hands-on learning. A totally different perspective than just looking at slides of the site.

In what way do you believe your 2 years at InnoEnergy Master’s School will contribute to your professional career?

The InnoEnergy Master’s School is well known in the industry and has a good brand. Plus, international experience – like I’m getting now – is highly valued today in the job market. Lastly, the connections I have made thus far through my studies and the extensive InnoEnergy network will be invaluable in the coming years!

Graduate – Chirayu Batra

chirayu

Name: Chirayu Batra
Nationality: INDIAN
Name of Master’s Programme: MSc EMINE
Current Employer: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Current Position: Nuclear Engineer

MSc EMINE graduate Chirayu Batra reflects fondly back on his challenging but rewarding time spent at InnoEnergy Master’s School. Oftentimes, we don’t see the value of something until well after we are finished with it – but it sounds as if he really embraced the moment during his time spent here.

 

Why did you choose the MSc EMINE programme?

Given my love for physics along with an interest in nuclear, EMINE was the clear choice. Having a few years of work experience made going back to school a little bit intimidating, so I researched various schools looking for something that would help in applying my technical knowledge in the corporate world. InnoEnergy Master School focuses on academics but also on their application in the real corporate world, which was just what I was looking for. I didn’t find this anywhere else. The program is well integrated with projects that actually relate to real companies.  I appreciate this approach – having students involved in real companies rather than giving them a superficial ‘real like’ environment.

What is your particular interest within this field?

I firmly believe that solving the energy problem is the utmost priority of human kind. This is one Gordon knot that needs to be opened. But we cannot create more problems at the cost of solving one – therefore the solution has to be sustainable. As an engineer I believe in technology, and the solution to the current energy scenario is technology with maximum energy efficiency, with minimum negative effect on environment. I am pro all other sustainable sources of energy but have a special affection for nuclear. I believe that the current demand for huge energy can be solved by an equal source of huge energy – nuclear. I always call nuclear a dark knight, a silent guardian. It is there to solve the imminent energy as well as climate change problem; we just have to embrace it.

What is your best memory from your time at InnoEnergy Master’s School?

It was full of various technical tours to provide us with a better understanding of the application part of our studies – very important for engineers. I remember our visit to Ascó nuclear power plant, one of the few engineering marvels I have seen in my life. Great weather, springtime, one of my first visits to a power plant – and here is this huge structure, and the engineering is so intense – it’s not everyday that you get to see a gigantic system like this working. At home, your lights come on and you don’t think about what’s making that electricity. To see it happen in real-life, not just facts and figures on paper. It was incredible!

Also visiting the site of the ITER fusion reactor in Cadarache. I probably would never have had a chance to see that. The programme is designed with amazing technical visits like these, so you study the physics and then you can see them applied. That’s a real education.

How did your programme help to prepare you for what you’re doing today?

I work in a very multi-national/cultural environment and the first year can be quite challenging for most people. But thanks to EMINE I was already prepared. And of course, the technical knowledge gained was very imperative – but it goes beyond technical. In nuclear you have many other aspects to the job. You need to develop those soft skills to succeed.

What kind of students do you believe would thrive in a programme such as the one you participated in?

The environment is very dynamic and competitive with lots of activities running in parallel. It will deepen your technical knowledge, while broadening your understanding of the societal, economic and environmental impacts of nuclear energy. It’s a demanding course, but a life-changing experience.

Graduate – Eirik Eide Pettersen

Name: Eirik Eide Pettersen
Nationality: Norwegian
Name of Master’s Programme: MSc EMINE
Current Employer: Seaborg Technologies
Current Position: Co-founder and Chief Science Officer

Master’s School graduate Eirik Eide Pettersen helped found Seaborg Technologies, which develops next generation nuclear reactors. He will continue to provide technical & strategic insights to help steer the ambitious effort to create his vision of the ‘sustainable energy future’.

 

Tell us a little about what you are doing now, and how the skills and knowledge gained at InnoEnergy Master’s School prepared you for this work:

Today, I am the co-founder and Chief Science Officer at Seaborg Technologies, a clean-tech start-up developing next-generation nuclear reactors called molten salt reactors (MSRs). MSRs use liquid fuel, the molten salt, which also acts as the reactor coolant. This advanced technology maintains all the benefits traditionally attributed to nuclear energy, while improving most of the problems plaguing conventional nuclear reactors.

The EMINE programme has provided me with several key competences that I use daily. Such as the international mindset that comes from the high mobility – essential to orchestrate the next clean-energy revolution. The analytical approach towards tasks and project management also come in very handy. Overall, the education lays the foundation for a thorough understanding of the conventional nuclear industry, which is obviously a good starting point for the next generation.

What’s the biggest challenge facing your company, and what will be your future role in helping to solve it?

Tomorrow, I will provide both the technical and strategic insights to help overcome the technical, regulatory, and financial challenges my company faces. I see myself obtaining a broader view and a more comprehensive skill set in the future to tackle the challenges presented by molten salt reactors. In particular, I hope to learn much more about chemistry and corrosion – key topics for a technology that is equal parts a chemical process plant and nuclear reactor – and I would like to master the business and management skills honed in the programme (and particularly in the Summer School session at Grenoble) to successfully steer the undeniably ambitious effort to create the ‘sustainable energy of the future’.

Where does your passion for renewable energy come from? And what’s your vision for the future?

My purpose is to help end our dependence on fossil fuels and usher in a sustainable future powered by abundant, carbon-free energy for everyone. The way my colleagues and I see it, global warming and the associated climate change represent our single greatest threat. To avoid crossing the 2-degree limit, we need to curtail greenhouse gas emissions from all sectors… sooner rather than later. However, we mustn’t forget that innumerable people are without the abundant and affordable energy that the developed world prospers from. We need a carbon-free, reliable, and safe source of energy that is cheaper than the cheapest fossil fuels available. Then we can compete with coal and natural gas on their own terms – and be able to kill coal with capitalism, to create the sustainable future that we depend on.