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Career Profile

Andrea Bellingham (she/her)

Emergency Management Programs Officer (Nuclear Engineer)
Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission
Andrea Bellingham
Andrea Bellingham

I work to prevent potential nuclear emergencies.

About me

I was born/grew up in:  Durham Region, Ontario

I now live in: Durham Region, Ontario

I completed my training/education at: 

I have a Bachelor of Engineering in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Ontario Institute of Technology.


What I do at work

My work is centered on the management and prevention of potential nuclear emergencies. I use my experience in Nuclear Engineering to learn about past nuclear events to improve Canada’s nuclear emergency preparedness and response plans.

A big part of my work is coordinating and participating in nuclear and radiological exercises/drills. These events involve nuclear operators as well as offsite response agencies. These agencies are at various levels of government (e.g., provincial, federal, and international level).

I am very involved during the planning phase of an exercise. I work with people and groups inside and outside the nuclear industry. I assist in developing operational plans and procedures. I also review already developed plans. I provide training and support the design of the exercise/drill. After the exercise has been carried out, I help with the evaluation of the exercise results. This process provides the opportunity to find areas that need improvement. It also helps identify things that are being done well. In the end, these exercises/drills help us strengthen nuclear emergency management programs.

My career path is

In high school, I did very well in math, physics, and chemistry. I knew I would find myself in a STEM career. When I was applying to university programs, I stumbled upon Nuclear Engineering. In my third year of university, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) hired me into their 15-month co-op program. This program provided me with the opportunity to gain valuable work experience in the nuclear industry. When I graduated, I returned to the CNSC to work in the technical support branch. In this position I participated in emergency drills and exercises related to nuclear power plants. My interest in this field increased my expertise and knowledge in nuclear emergency management. It has led to where I am today where I now provide technical and operational advice on nuclear emergency preparedness and response.

I am motivated by

It is personally rewarding that I am considered an expert in my field. I am proud to be in a position where I can offer professional advice. My ability and motivation to learn and develop new skills is a strength. As an example, when I first started at the CNSC, my only worked on simulated nuclear power plant events. Through my career development, I broadened my expertise and knowledge. Today, I support all areas of nuclear emergency management.

I have been able to develop new skills and learn from colleagues working in different areas. I have developed my understanding in areas such as public communications and government relations. I have also expanded my knowledge of environmental and radiation protection. I have also developed my knowledge of human performance management.

How I affect peoples’ lives

Nuclear safety and security are very important to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. We work to ensure the public and environment are protected. Emergency drills and exercises allow us to test programs, plans and response efforts. It also increases public confidence in what we do.

Outside of work I

I am an aunt to three nieces and one nephew. When I am not with them, I spend my time planning my next travel adventure.

My advice to others

There are always opportunities to broaden your expertise beyond your field by learning and developing new skills. Knowledge is power! The more you build it the more confident you will be in your work.

When I was a student, I enjoyed:
  • Art
  • Math
  • Science
  • Technology
When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:
  • Was motivated by success
  • Organized activities for my friends
  • Liked being given free range to explore my ideas
  • Liked reading
  • Felt great satisfaction in getting good grades
  • Wasn't sure what I wanted to do
  • Learned best “by doing"

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