STUK career stories: Elina works as a local inspector at the Olkiluoto nuclear power plant

I am Elina and I work as STUK’s local inspector at the Olkiluoto nuclear power plant in Eurajoki. In terms of my training, I have an MSE in material technology from Tampere University of Technology. I started at STUK in 2013, working on my Master’s thesis. The topic of my thesis was the reliability of non-destructive in-service inspections of pressure equipment. 

At the start of my career, I worked at STUK’s head office in Helsinki where I was responsible for the non-destructive in-service inspections of pressure equipment and their qualification. I also performed construction inspections of mechanical equipment during annual maintenance as well as on-site at the plant and manufacturing plants in the Olkiluoto 3 construction project. While performing construction inspections, I became fascinated by the power plant environment, so when the local inspector’s position in Olkiluoto became available in 2016, I applied for it and moved to Rauma. I was quite happy to leave Helsinki as I hail from the small town of Multia where my parents have a farm.

Initially, Olkiluoto 3 underwent several commissioning inspections so my time was mainly spent ascertaining that the systems were installed in accordance with the construction plans and ready for test runs. The next few years involved commissioning and test monitoring, alteration work inspections and, finally, evaluating the systems’ readiness for the operating licence in conjunction with the commissioning inspections. During construction, I had access to literally every area of the plant, including areas where no one is allowed once the plant is in operation, such as inspecting the reactor pressure vessel from the inside.

Currently, I’m responsible for the inspection and daily oversight of Olkiluoto 3’s mechanical equipment. The work is independent and challenging, and I get to follow the operations of the facility and organisations close up and extensively. As long as you have the enthusiasm and appetite for it, there are no limits to how much you can learn. Often, the head office asks the local inspectors to look into various things, and then I get to interview people or search for documentation. 

At STUK, I have also got the chance to take part in various international projects. For instance, I have trained an authority in Bangladesh and have standardised European inspection activities in Belgium. This is my dream job and I enjoy every day of it. I also have my spouse and children, aged 6 and 3, in my life. In my free time, I play the cello in different ensembles, including the Rauma chamber orchestra and a string quartet.