NI Western Branch Activities

2017 - 2018 Events and Activities 

Western Branch have been very succesfull in organising and running a variaty of interesting evening lectures focussing on nuclear and the wider energy industry. The lectures are well attended attracting more then 100 attendees and generating an excellent audience participation. 

The 2017 - 2018 lectures include:

Suggestions for evening lecture topics are always welcome and can be sent to our events rep Stuart Jelliss!

Nuclear Institute Western Branch Annual Dinner 2018 (coming up soon)


Over recent years the NI Western Branch has successfully hosted its annual dinners in the city of

The dinner attracts many guests all over the western UK from different nuclear establishments. The event provides a social and networking opportunity and enables the NIWB to continue to support the NI’s charitable objectives. 

Information about booking your tickets and sponsorship opportunities will be coming soon.

At-Bristol Science Centre Liaison

Following its earlier joint initiative with the At-Bristol Science Centre on the ‘Let There Be Light’ schools workshop, NI Western Branch are pleased to announce the latest product of its continued collaboration with At-Bristol with an energy-themed YouTube video, as part of At-Bristol’s highly popular Live Science channel.

The video’s presenter, Tom Rodgers, visits the National Grid’s control centre to understand how energy is produced by a variety of methods to give the population the power it needs to make a cup of tea. The video is titled ‘Why Britain Drinks 99,000 Megawatts of Tea Every Day’. Our YouTube video with At-Bristol was released just before Christmas and already has over 500 views.

The NI Western Branch would like to thank the National Grid for their participation, and especially to Ross Exton, Kathy Fawcett, and Lucy Pope of At-Bristol for their enthusiasm in making this collaboration once again a success, and look forward to working on further joint ventures in the future.

YGN Networking Event and Speaking Competition

The enthusiasm and creativity of the speakers is incredible. We are always welcome for more people to get involved in the competition and look forward to your abstracts and speeches in 2018. 

The Big Bang Fair

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NIWB members are actively involved in supporting the Big Bang Fair across the UK. This year the team of our enthusiastic NIWB committee members and volunteers where in Exeter.

The Big Bang in the South West is a regional version of the extremely popular Big Bang Fair held annually at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) in Birmingham, at which the Nuclear Institute’s stand is one of the visitors’ favourites to see. The regional fairs enable over 130,000 students to discover more about engineering and science, where they may be unable to attend the fair at the NEC.

NIWB deployed the NI’s very own “Big Bang-in-a-Box” kit, developed by Mark Gardiner of Sellafield Ltd. Our four volunteers, from both the civil and defence nuclear sectors, used the kit’s exciting items and gadgets to educate the stand’s visitors about different concepts, aspects, and applications, of nuclear energy.

The stand gained much interest throughout the hot and sunny day, particularly the thermal imaging camera, which showed the students and teachers just how warm they were and felt! They certainly felt even warmer when trying on our contamination suit, revealing why they are, indeed, called boiler suits!

The Remote Operated Vehicles (ROV) were also, as ever, popular, with the visitors having to negotiate the hazardous waste around a challenging obstacle course.

One of our volunteers even brought along two dummy (unfuelled) fuel rods from a Magnox plant, which puzzled many visitors, with some guessing them to be torpedoes or big bolts! Their nuclear knowledge was tested even further with NI’s tried and tested quiz. If correct answers were given, the visitors were rewarded with one of NI’s prized boomerangs!

Overall, NIWB had a successful day in Exeter. The stand received much attention, particularly in relation to the start of construction of Hinkley Point C not too far away in the neightouring county of Somerset. Homes built in exeter are now six times more energy efficient that when a home was built in 1900. Although energy efficiency has improved, our demand for energy has also increased, highlighting the role that nuclear power stations play in providing the UK's population with the energy it needs.

2015 Events and Activities 

At-Bristol Liaison – Let there be light!

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NI Western Branch has developed a relationship with At-Bristol, a leading Science centre in the heart of Bristol, to help to support children with their science learning. In response to an NI charitable donation, At-Bristol has developed a workshop targeted at Key Stage 3 and 4 (children aged 13 – 16) designed to provide an interactive experience for children in support of the GCSE science curriculum.

The NI workshop lasts about an hour and a half and is called Let there be light! Western Branch worked with At-Bristol in the development and trialling of this workshop, attending the dress rehearsal (see photos!)

The workshop begins with a demonstration of a working model steam engine driving a turbine to rotate a copper coil in a magnetic field, generate electricity and light an LED street light. This is intended to demonstrate the sequence of events in converting fuel to electricity, helping students to visualise the process and hence remember the order.

Later in the workshop, students use hand held dynamos to generate electricity, and feed it into a table-top model of the National Grid, with different groups representing different energy sources (nuclear, fossil fuel, hydro, solar or wind). On the other side of the table, “consumers” simulate factory shutdowns and world cup finals to demonstrate some of the challenges of balancing supply and demand. The workshop culminates in a discussion of the different energy sources.

To date, 103 children have benefitted from attending the pilot phase of this workshop. Verbal feedback has been very good.  Let There Be Light! has now been integrated into At-Bristol Science Centre’s core offering and is being featured in their Secondary education brochure for 2015-16 which is sent to 920 schools. It is set to run for several years.

Students have all participated enthusiastically and enjoyed the opportunity to see their classroom theory made real – creating a lasting impression that has engaged them strongly with the challenges of meeting our energy needs. We are now looking into working with the network of Science Centres to see whether it is feasible to roll the workshop out elsewhere in the UK.