Interview with Cristina González, Responsible for Radiological Protection of Berkeley Minera España

The head of Radiological Protection of Berkeley Minera Spain is one of the speakers at the #eWomanSalamanca event. 

Cristina González is responsible for Radiological Protection of Berkeley Minera España. A company that develops a modern and sustainable mining project in the province of Salamanca. She is one of the four speakers who will participate on 31st of January at the eWoman Salamanca event organised by La Gaceta and Iberian Press, also with the participation of the CyL Board on successful women in the business world and in the digital and technological environment.

Cristina studied Mining Engineering at the Polytechnic University of Madrid and holds the title of Expert in Radiological Protection by CIEMAT, the maximum training recognised by the official body in his sector.

What is your work being for more than 4 years as head of Radiological Protection of Berkeley Minera Spain? 

My job is to ensure that all the activities that Berkeley carries out now and in the future comply with the legislation and requirements regarding radiological protection; guaranteeing a sustainable project with the surrounding environment.

What is the best part of your job? 

What I like the most about my work has been to see the project growing year after year and to grow with it, professionally and personally.. We are working to develop a modern and sustainable mining project, where extractive activities are compatible and synergistic with the rest of the activities currently carried out in the area, as is the case with many other industries.

And the most difficult part?

It is frustrating to see how people can lie publicly in the media about our project and about the people who work on it, without any knowledge, scientific rigor or objectivity, and that everything goes unpunished. I guess it happens with many other investment projects, but that does not stop it from being frustrating.

It is a lie that uranium mining is incompatible with farming, agriculture or life. However, atrocities that are constantly heard, when in our case, the province of Salamanca has coexisted with this type of activity without problems, and even more so, obtaining an undoubted benefit of it. Also, you have to have a bit of a broad view and see what happens in the rest of the developed world. Countries with a high standard of living and environmentally well recognised with reserves of this mineral, (such as Canada, Australia or USA) have currently important uranium mining operations. And why not Spain? Obviously it is important to have a strict and quality regulatory legislative framework which guarantees that things will be done well, and Spain, has it.


Your decisions are essential for the protection of the environment, people who live in the area and the workers. What safety measures does Berkeley take?

Berkeley is very committed from the point of view of radiation protection, safety and health and the environment with the people around us. The radiological legislation is extensive and strict, the surveillance of the facilities is a highly regulated activity. We have extensive environmental monitoring plans in which we study the current  environmental quality (of rivers, soils, fauna, flora, air €), before any extractive activity begins. In the future when mining activities begin to guarantee that the environmental conditions do not change. Likewise, the project is continuously evaluated by the Nuclear Safety Council.


How did you start your career in Berkeley?

After finishing my degree, I did an internship at Iberdrola Ingeniería y Construcción, which at that time was collaborating with Berkeley in the topics of Radiological Protection. During that time, I completed my final project on the Salamanca Project. By that time, there was a vacant position in the company, so I was given the opportunity to join Berkeley.


Have you faced barriers in the business world for being a woman?

Probably there are things that are not changing in the right way and that could be done better. In general, I think we are moving towards a society in which there will be equal opportunities and prime meritocracy, regardless of whether you are a man, a young woman or old. In my particular case, Berkeley has a strong commitment to incorporate women into the professional world. When there are selection of personnel there are always woman on the candidate list. There is no distinction between men and women when hiring.


Is professional success compatible with family life?

Yes, I think it’s compatible. It is a matter of support and confidence in yourself, in the company and in the people around you. Being surrounded by a good team of people it is key for person’s success.


What are the keys to professional success?

In my case, succeed means to love your work, respect and feel respected by the people around you and give your best everyday.


Are women still showing a certain fear of risk?

I do not think it’s scary, but it takes more than 10 years to change a culture. The important thing is that each time the number of women entrepreneurs and workers are increasing, reaching the record last year. Also, the projects led by women have a lower failure rate than those projects leading by men and that is important because it helps to entrench us.


What would you say to women who fight for their dreams?

To be honest, I would tell them that the key is to love what you do. Things are not always easy. If you do not know what you want, work for it, be surrounding yourself with people with good values and be able to adapt to changes. It is clear that things are not easy, but in the end, if you do not stop fighting, your dreams come true.

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