An Interview with Marcia Oliver, Senior Radiation Protection Adviser at Nuvia

Celebrating International Women in Engineering Day

Birchwood Park is delighted to showcase the inspiring stories of women making significant strides in nuclear.

Today, we feature Marcia Oliver, Senior Radiation Protection Adviser at one of our occupiers Nuvia, who shares her professional journey and valuable insights, in hope more women follow a career in such a rewarding industry.

Q: Can you tell us about your background and what initially sparked your interest in nuclear or engineering?

Marcia: I have always loved science, and my career began as a laboratory trainee. I completed my ONC, HNC, and degree through vocational programs. My interest in radiation protection was sparked when I attended a Radiation Protection Supervisor course and found the legislation aspect fascinating. At the time, I was also a special constable, which likely contributed to my interest in law. This combination of science and law led me to pursue a career as a Radiation Protection Adviser.

Q: What led you to specialise in your industry, and what has your career path looked like since you started at Nuvia?

Marcia: My journey in radiation protection began at Public Health England, where I joined the Radiation Protection Adviser (RPA) team. I worked on a project with the Home Office, which Nuvia (then Nukem) took over in 2006. I joined Nukem in 2007 and continued to work on the project. Over the years, I have taken on the role of technical lead for this project, maintaining a strong relationship with our client due to our long-standing collaboration.

Q: Can you tell us about a project you’re proud of, and any impact it had in the wider industry?

Marcia: The project with the Home Office is one I am particularly proud of. It’s been over 20 years, and I still enjoy working on it. The Home Office often seeks to purchase new equipment that uses ionizing radiation to enhance their detection capabilities. My role is to ensure that this equipment can be operated safely and in compliance with relevant legislation. This project has allowed me to develop a strong relationship with the client, which is crucial for our ongoing success.

Q: What challenges do women face in this industry?

Marcia: Despite progress, there is still discrimination in this male-dominated industry. I have witnessed and had to experience inappropriate behaviour over the years. Sadly, similar stories from other women have continued to emerge, suggesting that this remains an issue. Many women hesitate to report such behaviour due to fear of repercussions on their careers or working environments.

Q: How can the industry overcome these challenges?

Marcia: Women need to feel confident that reporting poor behaviour will not disadvantage them. Businesses in our sector must take these reports seriously and address them appropriately. Educating everyone about acceptable behaviour is also essential to ensure that women are always treated with respect.

Q: What do you think are the most critical skills or attributes for success in this industry?

Marcia: Effective communication at all levels and confidence in decision-making are crucial skills for success in this industry.

Q: What advice would you give to young women considering a career in the nuclear and engineering industry?

Marcia: Just go for it! It’s a very interesting and varied field. Nuclear and engineering roles offer many opportunities for growth and development.

Q: How do you see the nuclear industry evolving over the next decade, and what role do you envision women playing in this future, particularly here at Birchwood Park?

Marcia: There is a shortage of people working in the nuclear industry, which may worsen as experienced professionals retire. The industry needs to reach out to young people, especially women, to highlight the benefits of a career in nuclear. Clear career paths and role models are essential to attracting and retaining talent.

Both Marcia’s achievements and own experiences must encourage progress to be made in the industry, to create a more inclusive and supportive environment for all.


Current Occupiers