Loretta's Story

I grew up close to the countryside, at the edge of the city. I had the sea nearby and I would walk long walks through the beautiful Dartmoor, where you see incredible rock formations and climb granite tors from ancient lava eruptions. Who would have thought that the radioactivity in the very granite I was playing on would be so important in my adult life?

At the time as a child, we didn't talk much about pollution and global warming. I cared about saving the dolphins and stopping the hunting of foxes, animal cruelty was on my mind, but the global climate was something for the adults to take care of. I thought they had a plan.

Me and my boy exploring nature together
Me and my boy exploring nature together

I loved everything fast, planes and jets, so I went on to study Aerospace Engineering. I had completed physics at school where I learned about nuclear energy, but only ever wanted to work in the Defence Industry.

It wasn't until years later when I got approached for a job at a nuclear company I really revisited my thoughts

both around the mechanics of nuclear energy, but also the environmental impacts of different energy sources.

I must admit that I was not ever really scared of radiation. I had friends that worked at nuclear power plants and I suppose that since I had already faced working in one controversial industry, I was mostly interested and excited by the opportunity.

Out in the lush green countryside

But the importance of an energy source that does not pollute became crucially important to me. It used to be that you didn't really speak much about your work if you worked in nuclear.

Now I have to speak up.

Especially to other mums I meet on the playground. It's important to talk about all the incredible benefits of nuclear power. Not just the environmental benefits, but all the jobs, technological advances and science.

Because we live near the new nuclear development build, Hinkley Point C, I have gotten to experience how local people feel about it and how nuclear is perceived. In reality, people are interested, they have a lot of questions about electricity pricing and new jobs there. Sure they have sometimes heard about the costs of building the plants, but the most common reaction I get is curiosity.

Once I had a child of my own, I saw the nature around us differently. Going on so many walks, showing and exploring nature together, seeing cows and sheep and chickens and horses, it's so important to me to preserve this lovely world for my child and others.

Starting early with clean energy knowledge

I think about how to drive less, how to prioritize doing the right thing over convenience. It's not easy, you have to model the right behavior from so early on.

When we're out together, we don't pick all the flowers, we leave some for the bees. We watch shows with animals and we try to be curious and experiment with the natural world.

I even got Nuclear Physics for Babies and we read books like this to have a better understanding of what we can use to solve these environmental problems.

The next generation, the teenagers I see today, they understand this more. But we cannot leave all these tough decisions to the next generation, we're the ones that have the authority to act now. I don't want my child to grow up and think that his mum and her generation left a mess for them to clean up.

I do feel hopeful and optimistic for the future. Maybe it's from working in this industry, just spending so much time with people who are always trying to do the right thing, it makes it such a nice industry to work in. People are passionate about nuclear energy and how we can use it to solve big problems in our future.

And I know that this passion is contagious.