Tommy Wong

End of internship presentation


How did you find your internship?

Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences (NERS) Department

Internship Description:

As an intern in a firm that designs nuclear reactors for China, I was fundamentally involved in conducting research on potential safety issues that may affect the current reactor design. Specifically, since I was in the material science department, I looked into various mechanisms that could damage the pressure vessel of a reactor during normal operation. I worked seven hours a day and five days a week. Under the guidance of my mentor, I identified several mechanisms in which the reactor can be damaged under a prolonged period of time and presented them to other engineers in the company.

Skills Demonstration:

– Conducted a case study on hydrogen embrittlement in Canadian CANDU reactors in operation and used the findings to assess potential risks in the Chinese CANDU reactors.

– Researched neutron bombardment and its effect on the pressure vessels of generation II PWRs. Evaluated the potential effect of such a mechanism on the current AP1000 design.

Skills Gained:

Through my international internship experience, I was able to gain invaluable technical skills in my field, especially since China is currently leading the nuclear renaissance with the highest number of nuclear reactors under construction. Since my mentor was a native of Hubei, China, I have also learnt to work in a professional environment with people from around the world who may not come from a familiar background. And since the lingua franca of Shanghai is still Mandarin, I have picked up a lot of Mandarin over the course of six weeks.

Advice for Engineering Students:

Start looking for internships early and send out as many applications as you can even if you don’t think you’re qualified. Expect cultural shocks, and learn to overcome them by being taking your chances. Talk to the locals and get out of your comfort zone.

Challenging Situation:

On one of the weekends, I went to the nearby city of Nanjing with my friend. While we have planned out our trip thoroughly beforehand, we were dismayed to find that the hotel we reserved for did not actually receive our reservation. I had never been stranded without a place to stay in a foreign city so I was very nervous about the ordeal. With our limited Mandarin skills, we managed to find another hotel with vacancies and continued our trip without any hiccups. In the end, we managed to visit the sights we planned out earlier and were able to make it back to Shanghai in one piece.

Best Thing:

I was able to have all the amazing Chinese food and it was very cheap as well. I also learnt a lot about the nuclear industry in China, especially in how indigenous Chinese nuclear technology is exported to other countries such as South Africa.