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Staring up at this huge marvel of engineering ... incredible

Chirayu Batra, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Master’s in Nuclear Energy

Chirayu Batra, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)


Master’s in Nuclear Energy

Grenoble INP: Institute of Technology


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.