How the maintenance of Ringhals is developing
Safety at Swedish nuclear power plants sets very high standards. During the year, four engineers from ÅF received an assignment where they together with Ringhals conduct and develop the maintenance of the reactors.
The ÅF engineers Stina Pålsson, Carolina Brännström, Elin Bengtsson and Jessica Lybark have received new assignments in maintenance at the Ringhals nuclear power plant outside Varberg in Sweden.
“It’s very interesting and entails a huge responsibility,” says automation engineer Stina Pålsson, who works with project management and strategy in a long-term perspective in building maintenance.
The assignment is about extending the reactors’ life span and to do so, it is important to analyse all included parts and evaluate how long they will last in continued operation and if they have to be replaced before the end of the planned operating period. One moment, Stina is out in the plant together with the maintenance engineers; it can involve going down to the cooling water tunnels below ground to check the building’s status. Another day, she is coordinating the long-term strategy work together with her colleagues in the building maintenance department. “Yes, the work varies widely,” she says.
Her colleague and planning engineer Carolina Brännström is in the same department as Stina and is responsible for Ringhals 3 and 4. She has daily contact with operations, plans works for contractors that are brought in and handle matters that are more or less acute. There is often a queue outside Carolina’s room, a queue consisting of both colleagues and contractors as her role is coordination at the highest level. “No day is like another. It’s challenging and developing, which makes it a very exciting job,” she says.
Elin Bengtsson and Jessica Lybark work on the other side of the canal for the cooling water intake. Elin is a development engineer and has a coordinating role in the long-term development of the maintenance work. It includes everything from management systems, analysis of events and production outages to training of personnel. A job with extensive personal responsibility and high demands. “The work is the best especially if you like challenges,” says Elin who graduated from Halmstad University in June and continues.
“As a young new girl, of course you have to have the courage to make a stake on an industry you find exciting,” says Elin who only has positive impressions of her first time at the maintenance department.
Jessica Lybark is also a recent graduate. At Ringhals, she is heading up maintenance projects in ventilation. The project organization is streamlined, which also means extensive responsibility for Jessica. “Yes, I have complete responsibility from budget to follow-up,” she says. Jessica studied engineering physics at Chalmers and has a master’s in nuclear engineering, a programme where she was one of few women at the section. But it never made her hesitate.
“The most important is that you are interested in what you’re doing. If you’re interested, you should absolutely apply,” she says and adds: “I have always worked with very good people around me just like it is at Ringhals,” she says.