As a student, I had the opportunity to tour Urenco USA in Eunice, N.M.—the only commercially operated uranium enrichment facility in the United States. Seeing a fuel cycle facility for the first time and learning about the centrifugal technology used to separate U-235 from U-238 was enriching (pun intended). In the nuclear utility sector, where I am currently working as a core design engineer, the focus is on creating safe, reliable, carbon-free nuclear energy; too often, however, we miss out on other key players in the nuclear fuel cycle.
As a visiting student, I listened to the introductions, the tour guides, the operators, and the engineers at Urenco, and I was hooked. It was so different from what I learned in college about commercial reactors. I was so fascinated with how Urenco operated and their role in the nuclear industry that I started my career there in 2016. The company did an incredible job educating their personnel not only on their processes but also on the work of other fuel cycle facilities (mining, conversion, and fabrication, to name a few).