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Story of a traveller

The Head of the Technical Division for Decommissioning at la Hague and an ocean rower during his free time, Rémy Alnet has a passion for the great outdoors, foreign cultures and bold challenges. His greatest professional adventure with Orano took him to China, where he spent three years setting up the EPR nuclear reactor new build in Taishan.
Working abroad is happiness.
  • DEA post-graduate degree in Thermal and Dynamic Fluid Transfer.
  • Nuclear ventilation test engineer, la Hague.
  • Head of Nuclear Ventilation Studies Department, la Hague.
  • Assistant Plant Manager, Solid Waste Treatment, la Hague.
  • Project Leader at the Recovery BU, la Hague.
  • Head of the Ventilation, Engineering and Trial Support Department, Taishan.
  • Head of Technical Division End of Cycle Operations Division, la Hague.

A love for mechanics and endless horizons

From his earliest age, Rémy was attracted to technology. As a teenager, he made makeshift motorcycles and assembled engines. Then, his interests placed him on a technology education path: a DUT in mechanics, a Master's in Energy Sciences and Techniques, DEA in Thermal Transfer and Fluid Dynamics. He also dreamed of new horizons. For two years as a young man in the military service, he taught Physics at the Royal Air School of Marrakech. That first immersion experience abroad would leave a lasting mark on him.

Having returned to France in 1985, Rémy chose to forego doctoral studies, joining SGN, a Cogema subsidiary, instead. There, he found a challenge tailor-made for him: as test engineer, he took part in commissioning the ventilation equipment on the new buildings at Orano’s reprocessing facility in la Hague. The project, gigantic in scale and entailing crucial technical and organizational challenges, made his heart sing.

At the heart of the extension in La Hague

 

A dynamic atmosphere reigns on the major construction site that transformed la Hague in the 1980s. There, Rémy came in contact with young engineers from every walk of life. After working for two years to make the ventilation facility a reality, he moved from the field of testing to that of research. The team was made up of three employees when he arrived. As the entity grew, that same team increased to twenty. He became the leader in 1990.

As Head of the Nuclear Ventilation Research Department, Rémy held both technical and managerial responsibilities. Concurrently, he contributed his expert perspective to drafting international norms and standards on ventilation. It was in this capacity that he would go on 10 one-week trips abroad to the United States, Germany and Italy.

 

The construction project in la Hague was such a stimulating environment in which to start a career.

A time of unending discovery

In 1998, Rémy set himself a new technical and managerial challenge: he joined the Operations Division in la Hague as deputy plant manager for solid waste treatment, where he supervised 114 employees. He put all of himself into this new position and field.

In 2002, thanks to the knowledge gained in operations, Rémy became project leader at the Recovery BU, in charge of the reprocessing and conditioning of waste at la Hague. This gave him the opportunity to interact with the United States on technical transfer issues. He held the position for 10 years. The best was yet to come: Rémy, who had long nurtured dreams of moving abroad, was offered the much-awaited opportunity in 2014.

  • 33 years at Orano.
  • 9 different positions.
  • 29 years at the site in la Hague.
  • 3 years at the EPR site in Taishan.
  • 5 countries travelled: England, the United States, Germany, Italy and China.
  • 1 foreign language: English.

The EPR in Taishan: venturing into China

With his wife, Rémy moved to China to take responsibility for engineering and support during ventilation tests at the EPR site in Taishan. It would prove to be his biggest professional challenge to date. While he was returning to his original profession, he was doing so in a new technical universe, that of the EPR. What’s more, he had to lead an international team, half Chinese, the other half a combination of Europeans and Americans.

For Remy, the work abroad was a fabulous experience. He learned to manage cultural differences, and helped his Chinese collaborators build their skills. Having initially arrived for a one-year stay, he ultimately remained in Taishan for three years. The team, which is working hard, has the satisfaction of completing its work before that of the Flamanville reactor new build project, which had begun earlier.

Location: China, Taishan.
Objective: to complete construction and start ventilation on the Taishan EPR.
At stake: launching the world's first third-generation reactor.
The difficulty: overcoming the cultural differences of an international team, training Chinese engineers on the spot.
Results: the EPR in Taishan was successfully commissioned on 6 June 2018.

Ready to set out for new challenges

 

Since the summer of 2017, Rémy has been back in la Hague, as Head of the Technical Department at the End-of-Cycle Operations Division. His team of 32 employees provides support to dismantling operations on the site's oldest facilities.

On a personal level, he returned to his passion for water sports, put on the back-burner during his time in Taishan. The Founder of the Club d'Aviron de Cherbourg, Rémy is an outstanding rower who crossed the Atlantic Ocean alone in 2009 and 2012. On the professional front, he is ready to set out again. “You have to be bold enough to make the move. Lots of people dream about it but never make it happen for themselves. I advise young people to seize the opportunities that open up for them. If they have the chance to go abroad, they should – it's a great adventure!”

 

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