News Archive


WiN Wales launch event

Jack Gritt, WiN UK President, reviews the joint WiN Wales Regional Team and the NI Wales Branch launch 

Women in Nuclear UK (WiN UK) were very proud to launch its new Wales Regional Team in a joint event with the Nuclear Institute (NI) who also launched its Wales Branch, at Bangor University on 11 October 2017.

After opening messages from Maria Kolodnytska, WiN Wales Regional Manager, and Mark Salisbury, NI Wales Branch Chair, we were treated to an inspired and personal address from Greg Evans, Operations Director at Horizon Nuclear Power.

His key message was the importance of building relationships, understanding people’s back stories and ensuring you make a difference in your life. His call to action was to make a personal commitment to improve relationships and watch the benefits roll in!

I then had an opportunity to introduce the audience to the vision and mission for WiN UK with a clear focus on addressing the nuclear industry's gender balance, improving the representation of women in leadership, engaging with the public on nuclear issues and supporting the industry with tools and information.

Sarah Beacock, Chief Executive of the Nuclear Institute, gave a fantastic overview of the benefits of NI membership, encouraging everyone to consider joining. The NI is a great organisation with a lot to offer, not least of all automatic membership to WiN UK! I would like to support Sarah by adding my endorsement to the benefits of joining the NI – it really does offer great benefits to those in the nuclear industry.

Cheryl Whitaker from Welsh Government shared her vision for Wales – it was ambitious and good to see a future of possibility for Wales. The intent is to have upwards of 10,000 high quality jobs in Wales by 2030 – a vision of renaissance and growth for the area.

Becky Smale guided us through a session on unconscious bias which was both enlightening and amusing!

We explored our own biases; stereotyping formed from the way we have been socialised and how our views and assumptions are often so wrong! The video she played was particularly brilliant at demonstrating how our bias affects our everyday life and choices…You can see it here!  Would you take a seat?

Maria Kolodnytska then stepped up to the podium as the new Team Manager for WiN Wales providing a wonderful overview of how WiN will be structured in Wales and her vision to drive change. She was also very clear in her message that men are welcome in WiN! We are not an exclusive club and we would love to have more men joining us to achieve gender balance in the industry.

Sasha Davies from Horizon Nuclear Power expended on Maria’s vision and inspired us with her passion on the benefits of the nuclear industry and the opportunities it provides for Wales.

Mark Salisbury, NI Wales Branch Chair followed with his commitment to the nuclear industry and the benefits of joining Nuclear Institute, Wales Branch.

Ffion Morris, Magnox, took us through the challenges of decommissioning Magnox reactors providing an update from Wylfa and Trawsfynydd. The key messages were that we need to innovate, to open our minds to new ideas and possibilities and ensure we have continued stakeholder engagement to provide confidence in the decommissioning programmes.

Dr John Idris Jones, Snowdonia Enterprise Zone, gave an insightful view of the future for Small Modular Reactors. These SMRs hold an important place in our new nuclear build programmes and are of particular significance for the Trawsfyndd site, holding opportunities for a new nuclear programme in the region.

It was inevitable that those attending the event would be interested in Advanced Boiling Water Reactor design as the UK ABWR is the technology of choice for Wylfa Newydd. Steven Hall, Hitachi-EU, provided a fascinating history of the BWR, walking us through all the developments that have led to the current ABWR design being proposed for the new Wylfa site.

After a packed-to-the-brim first half of the day, the delegates broke for a well earned lunch and a chance to network. The atmosphere was buzzing!

When we returned in the afternoon, we began with a panel entitled “Inspirational Women in Nuclear” beautifully chaired by Professor Sian Hope, OBE, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Bangor University.

However, Sian had a different take on the panel title and dubbed the participants “The Famous Five” much to the amusement of the audience and panellists! The panel comprised 

Gwen Parry-Jones, OBE, Generation Development Director, EDF Energy, Barbara Rusinko, President, Bechtel Nuclear, Security & Environmental, Inc., Janet Roth, Deputy Engineering Manager, Bechtel, Sarah Beacock, CEO NI and me, Jack Gritt!

It’s hard to pen a summary of a section in which I was a participant! So I will comment on the contributions from my esteemed panellists and exclude myself! These successful and smart women shared some insights into their careers, successes and obstacles. I could see the real interest from the room as I am sure many of their experiences were resonating with the audience. The real message was to be the best you can, display compassion and build relationships, maintain your resilience in the face of adversity and have pride and integrity in all you do. Sounds like great advice to me!

And then to the final section of the day – two workshops to allow our guests to really engage and have something tangible to take away from the day. My thanks to Heather Cox and Alison Flower, both Rolls Royce, for their session on the SMR and to Claire Burgess, Horizon, for her session which discussed how we inspire the future generation in the nuclear industry. The feedback from both workshops was fabulous and the noise from the interaction was loud!

Special thanks go to Maria Kolodnytska and Becky Smale of Horizon Nuclear Power. They created a memorable day for everyone; and to Loretta Browne (WiN Regional Team Executive Lead) for creating another regional team for WiN UK.

My grateful thanks go to our main sponsors Horizon Nuclear Power and the Nuclear Institute and a reminder that we have an amazing opportunity to create a nuclear industry that is diverse, has gender balance and is an industry we can be very proud of…