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Daniel - Nuclear engineer

Marine and nuclear engineer Daniel Hall.  Lieutenant Daniel Hall is a nuclear engineer with the Royal Navy.

Tell us about your role? 

During 10 years in the Royal Navy I have visited more than 30 countries, gained two more degree level qualifications, supervised a Nuclear Reactor underwater at the age of 25, taken part in national level sailing events, been on numerous adventurous training expeditions and made some incredible friends.

Did you always want to be an engineer? 

Growing up I was always interested in how things were built and finding out how they worked.  I enjoyed the creative and scientific topics at school, selecting subjects such as Maths, Physics, Art, Graphic Design and Technological Studies.  When I left school I had aspirations of becoming an architect, but found myself drawn to the engineering side of building structures so I eventually decided to do a Bachelors Degree in Civil Engineering.

What qualifications were required for your role? 

I secured an Army scholarship and completed my undergraduate degree at Cranfield University before deciding that the engineering opportunities offered by the Royal Navy interested me more than those of the Army. 

Having passed my Admiralty Interview Board, I went to Britannia Royal Naval College Dartmouth for Officer Training in 2007 which prepared me for my specialisation as a Marine Engineer. Following the initial training I then completed a Post Graduate Diploma in Nuclear Reactor Technology as well as a six-month period at sea on HMS Talent. 

What did your training involve? 

Training was varied and involved a number of hands on modules including:

  • Rebuilding and then running diesel engines
  • Making a working model steam engine
  • Using a lathe and milling machine

Submarine engineers.  What does your typical day involve? 

As an engineering officer on-board, my day could involve a whole range of different activities including:

  • Briefings about what mission the submarine is currently undertaking
  • Acting as the team leader in response to an on-board emergency
  • Managing and rectifying any defects in electronics systems
  • Being in charge of the on-watch team responsible for the reactor, propulsion and electrical generation for the entire submarine
  • …and even fixing the submarines fridges!

Are there any unexpected benefits to your career? 

During the Post Graduate Diploma we were introduced to the reactor simulator training for the first time where we got to experience what the reactor does when things go wrong. I thoroughly enjoyed this time, finding it challenging and rewarding whilst also allowing me scope to pursue extra-curricular activities such as the Royal Navy Skiing Championships and representing the Royal Navy in Offshore Sailing Regattas.

What do you love about your job? 

The breadth and diversity of different opportunities and experiences available. Whilst all Royal Navy engineers have to undergo the same initial training, their experiences whilst assigned to a submarine and their subsequent jobs will all be different. This means that collectively, my friends and I have explored more of the world and had more interesting experiences than any other group of professional engineers that I know of!