Sara Dolatshahi

Sara Dolatshahi

Nuclear Plant Control Room Supervisor
Ontario, Canada
Sara Dolatshahi
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My name is Sara Dolatshahi and I work at the Control Room of a Nuclear Power Plant, where select few people ever get to visit. Currently, I am the first and the only female Control Room Shift Supervisor (CRSS) for Pickering Nuclear Units 5 to 8, one of the world's largest nuclear plants. I have a Masters degree in Nuclear Engineering from McMaster University (Canada) and I have been working for Ontario Power Generation since 1999. I held positions of varying responsibilities before being selected for the CRSS role, which is an authorized position requiring a licence from the federal government.   As a CRSS, I am directly responsible for the safe operation of the plant and supervising a team of highly trained authorized nuclear professionals to reliably produce electricity.  My primary role is to protect the safety of the public, personnel and environment.  I coordinate the activities of the station at the start of each shift to ensure jobs can be performed safely and efficiently.  I am also in charge of the personnel response during Emergency situations.

Answers by Ms. Sara Dolatshahi

I am sorry for the late response Nataly - I hope I am not too late.  

First off, I'd like to say that I am honored by your question and excited to see that you are interested in becoming a nuclear Engineer.  Engineering is a rewarding career.  It builds a strong foundation for anything you choose to do with it later in life. I chose to use my nuclear engineering background to help me run a nuclear power plant to produce electricity; a leadership role rather than research and development or academic one.  

Your science fair topic on a nuclear fusor is an intriguing topic, which unfortunately, I haven't had a chance to get involved in much. In a nuclear reactor we currently use a process called fission (as oppose to fusion), which is splitting a nucleus of a uranium fuel using neutrons to make electricity.  In fusion, the process is opposite.  The nucleus of two light atoms are fused together to produce a heavier atom and large amount of energy.  However, the fusion process has not yet been developed enough to use it on a large industrial scale. 

There are many good websites and publications that can help you learn more about fusion in general like: 

  • US Department of Energy website on fusion
  • Plasma Science and Fusion Center(PSFC) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has good publications on plasma physics and nuclear fusion.  
  • And of course Wikipedia. 

Also, please note that there is still a lot of research that needs to be completed in this area before we can use them on a large scale.  We need people like yourself to help with this research and to make it happen - it is an exciting field. 

Please keep up your excellent work and feel free to send me a note if you have any other questions.  


Sara Dolatshahi