Inspiring wonder in our company

In our blog “Inspiring wonder in our community,” we shared how our engineers interacted with students of all ages to fuel their excitement for engineering. But during DiscoverE’s National Engineers Week, we also took the time to inspire wonder within our own workforce by recognizing our engineers.

At Framatome, our people and their expertise drive the company, and it’s their expertise and operational excellence that are the very heart of our strategy as a company. Each year, we recognize a key group of individuals from our business units through our “Engineer of the Year” program. With their actions and innovations, these individuals exemplify our core values.

Our 2017 “Engineer of the Year” winners are:

Nithian Nithianandan
Victor Hatman

Installed Base (IB)
Paul Childrey
Todd Matthews

Engineering & Design Authority (DTI)
Philip Opsal

Instrumentation & Control (I&C)
Ryan Reynolds

Framatome’s 2018 Engineer of the Year: Nithian Nithianandan

Nithian Nithianandan, from Framatome’s Fuel Business Unit (BU), received this year’s Framatome Engineer of the Year award and Fuel Business Unit Engineer of the Year award for his commitment to:

  • Identifying innovative and cost-effective solutions related to thermal-hydraulic phenomenon that benefit our business, which in turn, benefits our customers, and
  • Exhibiting a passion for sustaining and developing technical expertise for the future of the nuclear industry, sharing his expertise with his team and mentoring young engineers.

Nithian has worked at Framatome for more than 37 years and recently joined the Fuel Business Unit. He is recognized as a Framatome Expert, and in 2017, made significant contributions to three major projects.

Fuel BU Engineer of the Year: Victor Hatman

Victor Hatman won one of the Fuel BU Engineer of the Year awards for leading a critical global research and development (R&D) program that will help us adapt our solutions to meet current and future customer needs. The program focuses on a new testing methodology for robustness in fuel assembly spacer grids in response to seismic and loss-of-coolant accident (LOCA) events that will help increase fuel safety and satisfy stringent regulatory requirements.

He also provided strong leadership and enthusiasm that ensured the development a global solution, while managing a culturally and geographically diverse project team.

Installed Base BU Engineer of the Year: Paul Childrey

Paul used his expertise and experience to single-handedly develop a more reliable and robust tool, allowing Framatome to enter a new market to support our customers’ needs – transferring reactor control elements from one fuel assembly to another.

At the beginning of 2017, with sufficient interest from our customers, Framatome began R&D on a Framatome-designed rod cluster control assembly (RCCA) tool. After successful review and evaluation of the design, the new RCCA tool was taken to market, and in summer 2017, two of these tools were sold to a utility customer. Since Paul completed the design, several more utility customers have expressed interest in purchasing the new tool. In addition, we plan to fabricate the tool for use in Framatome’s Technical Training Center (TTC) to train and qualify technicians who handle RCCAs. We’re providing a safe and competitive solution to our industry customers.

Installed Base BU Engineer of the Year: Todd Matthews

Todd Matthews won an IB Engineer of the Year award for developing automations that adapt current industry analyses, using digital transformation to improve our performance and supply innovative products and services. Todd evaluated several analysis processes to define how computer-based automation can improve quality and cost.

Both automations address the time-consuming, expensive and potentially error-prone processes of manually extracting and processing data, transferring output/input during analysis, and executing numerous analysis cases including fuel LOCA during the analysis process. Todd’s evaluations help eliminate the potential for human error in critical plant-safety analyses.

DTI BU Engineer of the Year: Philip Opsal

Phil Opsal exemplifies the proven expertise we cultivate among our employees. His background and experience as a utility senior reactor operator (SRO) has fostered numerous requests for him to serve on NEI task forces, self-assessments, root causes and 8D projects. Phil is a principal engineer (PE) in the state of Tennessee and is an Expert in the field of Nuclear Plant Systems and Regulatory Programs.

Phil assisted with a number of successful projects this year: securing 10 CFR 50.69 work, supplying a customer with new analog Engineered Safety Features Actuation System (ESFAS) equipment, development of the Framatome/IBM Watson IoT reliability prediction model, supporting the SONGS transition from a power producing facility to an independent spent fuel storage installation (ISFSI) only facility, and continuing to market our Security Optimization Program. He was a contributing author for NEI 16-09, “Risk-Informed Engineering Programs (10 CFR 50.69) Implementation Guidance” issued in April 2017.

I&C BU Engineer of the Year: Ryan Reynolds

Ryan stepped up and led the design effort for the Engineered Safety Features Actuation System (ESFAS) upgrade for Calvert Cliffs. This project involved a joint design between Framatome and Lockheed Martin, and Ryan served as the technical lead for the Framatome design, as well as the primary interface with the technology vendor.

From design into implementation, Ryan continued to support the manufacturing and qualification process, providing the oversight required to develop a solid, sustainable platform offering to add to the Framatome portfolio. With this project’s success, Framatome’s I&C product line will benefit from Ryan’s contributions toward providing, safe and competitive solutions for many years to come.