“Everyone has to feel that they are doing what they are best at and have a passion for”
Anna-Maria Alvarez was raised in a family with passion for science and engineering and her first childhood dream was to become a medical doctor, which later changed into a desire to develop medical drugs. The road to Studsvik and the nuclear industry went through chemical engineering, material science, Volvo, Ericsson, the Swedish Institute of Metals Research, PhD Studies and research at University of Illinois in the US. Her dissertation on hydrogen related issues in titanium alloys finally led her to Studsvik Nuclear and studies on hydrogen in zirconium.
Can you describe what a typical week in Studsvik includes for you?
“I work in the interface between sales and project management. A regular week for me includes planning new projects and analysis techniques, follow up and analyze results from ongoing projects and writing reports. For us it is important to have continuous contacts with our international customers and I attend such meetings frequently, either through skype or in person. To keep me updated and to discuss future opportunities I also participate in conferences related to my technical field. In order to keep in touch with ongoing experimental work, I am engaging in collaborations with universities and try to find time to be present in the lab, which gives me inspiration and energy. “
Describe something Studsvik has supported the nuclear industry with that you are especially proud of.
“What makes me most proud is when we, as a group, face a major challenge and then are able to overcome the obstacles and still deliver a great product to the custumer. The largest challenge that I have faced during my time at Studsvik was when the R2 test reactor closed in 2005 and I was managing the first phase of the Studsvik Cladding Integrity Project (SCIP). In this 5-year program we had planned to perform 10 ramp tests towards the end of the program to test fuel behavior of high burn up fuel based on the knowledge gained during the first 4 years. Since we had just started the program when it was clear that the test reactor was going to be taken out of service, a major rearrangement of the program was required in order to keep our agreement with the costumers. Thanks to great teamwork, all the planned ramp tests were successfully performed within half a year, just prior to shutdown of the reactor. This could not have been done without a strong, positive and creative team that focused on getting the things done.”
What is innovation to you and how does that influence your work in Studsvik?
Innovation in the nuclear industry is normally a very slow process since every change requires substantial qualification. What we do in our regular work at the laboratories is development, where a combination of existing techniques used in other areas can be modified and used in a different setting to improve our testing technique, test new materials or investigate new parameters. Both exchanging creative ideas and thinking out of the box are necessary to improve our services and create new business opportunities.”
What is the most important thing to have in mind to make a project excel?
“Great project management skills go far, but to make a project stand out, everyone has to feel they are doing what they are best at and have a passion for.”
Masters degree in material science and technology and PhD thesis on the effect of Hydrogen on the mechanical and physical properties in Titanium
Lives on the countryside outside Nyköping. Enjoys diversity in all aspects of life, independent if it is comes to food, music, cultures, nature or personality. Diversity simply makes life so much more interesting and colorful.