STOR-i PhD student wins TakeAim 2021 Prize


Image: Callum Barltrop, STOR-i PhD Student

The Smith Institute’s annual TakeAIM competition is an opportunity for university students to showcase their work on the industrial stage. STOR-i PhD student, Callum Barltrop, has been selected as a 3rd place (bronze) winner.

In discussing his competition entry, titled ‘The importance of combined extreme events for nuclear regulation’, Callum stated: “The 2011 meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was caused by the combination of two extreme events: an earthquake and a tsunami. This disaster exposed critical weaknesses within the Japanese regulatory framework, notably the fact little consideration was given to the probability of both extreme events occurring simultaneously. Consequently, good nuclear regulatory practice now considers combinations of hazards occurring simultaneously. Moreover, joint impact of multiple hazards can be analysed via the so-called return curve, a risk measure which quantifies joint extremal behaviour.

Working with the Office for Nuclear Regulation, the UK’s independent nuclear regulator for safety, security and safeguards, our research is focused on developing novel estimation techniques for return curves. In particular, we have developed methodology for capturing trends related to climate change in return curve estimates, something which had not been previously considered. Furthermore, this research may one day help inform the design basis for nuclear facilities and safeguard against future extreme events.”

Commenting on the prize, Callum said, “I'm absolutely over the moon to have finished 3rd place in this year's TakeAIM competition! I thoroughly enjoyed being able to showcase my research and its links with nuclear regulation, which feels increasingly relevant in our ever-changing climate. I'd like to thank my supervisor Jennifer Wadsworth and fellow STOR-i PhD students Eleanor, Hamish and Matt for their constructive criticism and feedback on my submission - wouldn't be here without you guys! I am also grateful to the Smith Institute for organising such a fantastic competition and I look forward to attending the awards ceremony in May.”

Details of the competition can be found here: https://www.smithinst.co.uk/takeaim/

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