As a mechanical engineering senior, this past summer I had the opportunity to take an internship with Framatome-ANP, an AREVA Siemens Corporation. Working for their Steam Generating Team (SGT), I had the opportunity to use practical knowledge that I had gained in my technical classes at UNC-Charlotte as well as learn valuable skills you can only receive from an internship. I read documents on nuclear energy generation, safety analyses for nuclear power and power generation with steam turbines. I also wrote documents that will be used to conduct meetings with clients on nuclear engineering issues. I had the opportunity to take a training class that gave me an overview of how a nuclear reaction generates thermal energy and is transferred into electrical power. The nuclear training class was 3 intense days but so much information was provided that it lessened the mystery of nuclear power. The training class provided detailed information regarding the primary system (reactor coolant system including the reactor and pressurizer) the secondary system (main steam and feed water systems including steam generators) and tertiary systems (condensers), and how these systems protect or are protected from and against the public and environment. Shortly after that my fellow interns and I had the opportunity to take a trip to Arkansas Nuclear One (ANO) to see what a nuclear facility looked like and how it ran. ANO will be going into a refueling outage, where they shut 1 reactor down and replace the spent fuel, in October. During that time SGT will cut a 24’ by 24’ hole in the reactor building and replace the 2 steam generators inside. The reason for the steam generator replacement is to extend the operating licenses an additional 20 years and provide the facility a total life of 60 years. While at the site, the new steam generators were delivered by tug and barge up the river and offloaded. Nothing in school could have prepared me for seeing something close to 7 stories tall and almost 450 tons being moved a distance of 1 mile. That is the experience and opportunity only an internship can give you. I know an internship is not required for graduation, but I believe your education is incomplete without one.
Mechanical Engineering Intern