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04 November 2016

Cumbria Nuclear News & Views - It's all about the NDA!

Posted in NuExec Blog

Well what an awesome week this has been, but before I tell you all about it I want to share something very important with you. On Wednesday NuExec celebrates 5 years of trading. This may not sound a big deal to some of you, but for me it is absolutely huge. More than half of new businesses don't survive to 5 years so for us to have reached that milestone and still be going strong makes me so very proud.

During our five year's we have achieved some fantastic things including:

  • 2012 Won BECBC New Business / Entrepreneur of the year award
  • 2014 Won Managed Service Contract for LLWR
  • 2015 Grew the business by 150%
  • 2015 Won Best Nuclear Recruitment Consultancy, UK in the Corporate Vision Awards
  • 2015 Achieved Cyber Essentials Certification
  • 2016 shortlisted for BECBC Small Business of the Year Award
  • Placed with over 30 nuclear supply chain companies
  • Helped over a 100 people secure their dream careers

Our biggest ambition when we started the business was to be the nuclear recruiter of choice, and there is no doubting we have achieved this through our extensive networks, our unique approach to recruiting and this blog which apparently continues to be the leading voice in the nuclear industry. – This always makes be chuckle!

I have to say with hand on heart we couldn't have achieved what we have without the support of our fantastic clients and candidates, who continue to believe in us, and the service we provide. We feel privileged to be part of the nuclear supply chain and work with such exceptional individuals.

So, thank you if you have worked with us and thank you for reading my blog. When I get disheartened and wonder if it is still worth writing it is those emails I receive, and the comments of encouragement, that keeps me believing in what I do.
Anyway, enough of the self- indulgence and on with business!


This is always my favourite week of the year. We always have the NuExec annual outing to Manchester to the BECBC Nuclear Sector Group meeting on the Wednesday and then the NDA Supply event on the Thursday! So, get a brew sit back and get ready to hear all about it:

As is always the case when I plan a trip it is always done with military precision. (I am a prisoner to the clock.) Lisa was due to arrive at my house between 7am and 7.15am on Wednesday. Now, obviously this means arrival is due at 7.07am (and 30 seconds if we are being precise.) I waited patiently for her to arrive, car already running and sat nav programmed when I received a call at 7.12am:
Lisa: Emma it's Lis, where are you?
EJ: I am at home waiting for you? Where are you?
Lisa: I am at your house and can't see your car. Oh shit hang on I've gone to the wrong house. I'm at your old house. Right I'm on my way.
I obviously couldn't be cross with Lisa for being late as I found it absolutely hilarious that she had gone to the house. Anyhow, she arrived and we set off at 7.22am (behind schedule.)

The journey was going fine until we hit Embleton and the traffic lights. I got to the front and they were on red. Even though cars were pouring through I followed the rules and stopped at the red light. After all I believe in fair shares and if I went through on red it would mean others wouldn't be able to come through on green. I sat waiting and the lights changed and loads of cars and lorries continued to pour through having obviously jumped the red light. I was so cross and started to move forward as my light was on green so it was my turn. Lisa was telling me I had to stop as they had nowhere to go and I couldn't block the road. Rather begrudgingly I sat and waited and then went through.

We arrived at the sector group meeting in plenty of time. We got a coffee and sat down. Over walked a lovely chap we know called Phil who had recently moved to a new business much to mine and Lisa's amusement the company is called Bender UK. Of course, this is something we have only laughed at in private. When Phil arrived at the table we did the normal greeting and then Lisa, in fits of laughter, said in a rather loud voice: "I can't believe you are a Bender". I was mortified but thankfully Phil found it hilarious and showed us with pride his embroided work shirt which has, in proud letters, on the collar "BENDER". Lisa and I also got much enjoyment in explaining to an American colleague what bender meant and why it was so funny. In addition we also had to explain to him what Christmas tat was which is now renamed for his ease as Christmas crap – Although we do jest, Bender UK is actually a really good business that focuses on electrical safety using innovative technologies to find solutions for its clients.

We then entered the meeting room and here are some notes from the really interesting presentations:

BECBC Nuclear Decommissioning Sector Group
Dave Pickles MD Bilfinger
Safety key priority for the business
Part of cluster for 3.5 years worked in nuclear for 25 years across the estate
Lots of experience
Manufacturing facility moved two locations together bespoke and standard manufacturing using a lean process
How to drive top quality

Tony Business Director, Bilfinger
Did you know:
Broad offering
Make super magnets
Look after robots at Porsche
Are assisting technological transformation of water ways
Run and maintain 125 power plants
19 years of consecutive excellence in H&S

Bilfinger are an engineering and service provider
Industry 30,000 people design, engineering maintenance and modernisation of industrial plants
Power 9600 people
Driven and committed to sustainable principals and safety
40000 employees
Diverse range of competencies
U.K, Germany and Middle East locations

Bilfinger industrial automation services
Leader in automation, control and maintenance services
Over 450 employees
Have a number of accreditations and standards

What we do:
Design and Engineering
Construction and Build
Automation and system integration
Installation and commissioning
Asset service and support
Project and Programme Management

Oil and Gas

Work as a Tier 2 to Sellafield
Been on Sellafield since 2000

Thames Water Technology Alliance
£350-£400m over 3.5 years - Bilfinger £60 - £70m
In a consortium with IBM, Accenture and Deloitte

Doing a lot of work for United Utilities in Cumbria.
Looking for services


Decommissioning Delivery Partner, Sellafield
Simon Martin - Programme Manager
Now Simon gave a very interesting presentation, but it left me feeling uncomfortable and with some conclusions drawn that don't seem right. Anyhow here is what he said and I will give you my thoughts at the end.

Thorpe has only 100 weeks left reprocessing.

Business migrating into a decommissioning business

Still working through the changing governance at Sellafield - this has caused problems with timings

Paul Foster made clear Sellafield have the most staff they will ever have. The number of staff will decline

This year budget still around £2bil mark. Scope was £2.5bil so needed to reduce scope. Had to pick out the essential work. Have got scope to budget through those cuts. Slow 6 months with work but expect things to start to flow now. Can see more work flowing.

Acquisition strategy is diverse and things procure has a huge range. Generated broad spectrum of frameworks. Trying to help the guys placing orders.

MDSW ends at the end of this financial year

PPP major projects being scrutinised. Now got green light with some observations moving forward. More to do before can release it.


DDP Vision
To make DDP the framework of choice by delivering risk and hazard reduction through a robust and collaborative partnership.

10 year framework 5 + 5
£1.5bn worth of work
Current forecast circa £500m
This year £20m - work is beginning to come through
Six lot Delivery partners
The framework scope covers a broad range of project lifecycle activities - flexible and adaptable.
Can award work directly or run a competition
DDP went live April 2016

What is it?
It's a partnership not an alliance
Long term framework
A change programme
A quicker way to access capability
A platform to engender behaviour changes both for Sellafield as well as its Supply Chain

What kind of work
Scope Delivery covering full task or project life cycles
Tasks, minor projects, or major projects
Not intended to replace existing site wide frameworks
Increase the social impact

Lot 1 – Remediation, PFCS, PFSP, Calder, Others ie Ops & Major Projects
Adapt – Areva, Doosan & Atkins
Cnsl – Jacobs Stobbart, React, JFN, Shepley, Westinghouse & WYG

Ids – Atkins, Hertel, North West Projects, Westlakes Engineering
Nexus – Costain, Mott Macdonald, Safety Critical & Squibb


Lot 2 - FGMSP
TDA – Atkins, Jacobs, Westinghouse


Lot 3 - MSSS
I3 – Amec, Hertel & Shepley


Improved schedule delivery
Effective planning of work
Timely access to SQEP resource
Right first time technical solutions
Increased supply chain innovation

Focussing on demolition - key part of DDP
About early engagement


Current position
Placed £10m of work to date
B6 demolition contract had been completed and awarded to Adapt £15m
Asset card contract had been competed and awarded to CNSL £55m over period
Internal board audit has been completed
The demolition team have now removed 10 buildings form across site
Formation of remediation and the placement of it all
FGMSP transitioned to DDP
MSSS plans to transition from incumbent in place


So, from what I picked up there seems to be this new section on DDP which is for "Sellafield others" and from the sounds of it, this is the vehicle contracts are going to be let through so rather than their being an opportunity for businesses to tender for contracts if you aren't on the DDP framework you are shit out of luck. When there is a focus for helping SME's do business this feels completely against this. I have a feeling they will be expecting their Tier 2's to feed down but without enough work to feed their own team it will be mere scraps, if anything, that those businesses outside of that framework will receive.

Then a question was asked about something in the contract that mentions "Rotation of workforce" for contracting organisations on the framework. Now Simon seemed a little vague in his answer and spoke about an aspiration of having some kind of floating workforce on site, fully SQEP to do the work. Now I may be putting 2 and 2 together and getting 4 but at the beginning of his presentation he mentioned 100 weeks until Thorpe closed and that all the people there will need new roles. Will this "floating workforce" the contracting organisations need to use be one made up of those Sellafield employees?

Someone also asked about category management and this too looks like it will be going through DDP.

Environmental Safety Case - advertise award in New Year

Waste characterisation - be out in the New Year in 4 lots

Alex McCarthy now head of commercial for LLWR replacing Jonathan Evans who is now shared services. – We are dead pleased about this as we love Alex!  (-Jonathan's alright too ;))

I have to say the sector group was a really interesting meeting and Bilfinger were awesome hosts.

Once we had finished Lisa and I headed to the hotel, cleared our emails and then went to the Trafford Centre for an hour for our obligatory annual shop.

We then went and set up our very exciting stand that has a screen which only special selected people could step behind and see what was behind it.

As Lisa and I are so rock and roll we had dinner and then were back at the hotel and tucked up in bed by 8.45pm. – You may laugh but this is our opportunity to showcase our business to 2000 people and we want to be on top form.

We were up bright and early and even had time to visit the drive through Starbucks on the way.

As expected the event was huge. We took our seats and I got really confused as to why I couldn't take a selfie as I couldn't see us in the camera. It took Lisa to point out to me I actually had the camera pointing the wrong way – Selfies are not my forte!

The event was opened by Jo Telfer who has worked in the industry for 18 years. She told us how this was the 6th event (I have been to every one) and that 2000 delegates had attended, with over 288 exhibition stands. I felt Jo was the best presenter they had and she came across brilliantly.

A film was shown prior to John Clarkes speech that highlighted:
17 nuclear sites clean up
120 years to clean up
Success is working in collaboration
Together we are making progress
£14b spent
£1bn SME spend
Collaborative procurement
Hazards reduced across estate
£85mil invested in R&D every year
Skilled and diverse workforce critical for mission
3mil apprentices by 2020
40 contracts to be placed in decommissioning across the estate

Presentation - JohnClarke
Background to NDA sixth year of conference. A lot happening at the NDA. Have effectively got a new Government. New department for business and energy. New ministers. Continued commitment to nuclear Decommissioning.
If you don't put away your old toys you can't get your new.
Sellafield structure has changed
Retiring middle next year
Pete Lutwyche has gone back to Jacobs
Broader estate a lot is going on. Hinckley C going ahead and hopes for horizon and NuGen
Making progress with geological disposal
Supply chain is essential to the work the NDA work does
£3bn a year to decommissioning
£1.8bn spent in supply chain
Supporting Growth and export agenda
Support 3000 companies and about two thirds are SMEs.
Very supportive of SME agenda
31% spend direct and indirect is their commitment
Revised SME strategy is with Government for approval
Looking at intellectual property
Licensed companies have a coherent method of advertising opportunities
Tier 2's are beginning to pilot using the same method to give visibility of their opportunities
Skills fundamental - all about people
NDA launched a skills brochure
Skills development in tenders is vitally important

He then went off script and talked about diversity in the workforce, which to be honest didn't come across very well. He said that he had been to a WiN event and said that if we are serious about being inclusive you need to look at the outcomes because if you don't do something it will be a predominately white male industry. It seemed like he was saying that people should recruit more women or more black people. Both Lisa and I get quite offended and annoyed by this. Lisa would hate to be given a job because of her skin colour and I would hate to get a job because I am a woman. When recruiting, it should be the person that is the best fit for the role based on skills and experience, not the colour of their skin or their gender. I think the diversity should come in at school when educating kids that anyone can be an engineer and it isn't just for boys.
I've always been a huge advocate of John's and always love to hear him speak but was a little disappointed this year.


Rear Admiral Keith Beckett
A year of significant change
Won majority vote to go head with nuclear deterrent
Bright future of continued success.
Defence and nuclear civil there is much that binds them together
Most significant changes over past 12 months
£5bn annual spend


Supply Chain Awards
Ron Gorham, Head of Supply Chain Optimisation and SME Champion
Ron was his normal self and the awards came across almost as a 'comedy of errors' than a professional business awards ceremony. Company names were said wrong and a great deal of chat was going on when everyone was just keen to get on and get networking.

Capability and Capacity Award
Highly Commended: Stainless Metalcraft
Winner: Profile Security Services

Technology/ Innovation Implementation Award
Winners: OC Robotics & TWI
Winners: Westinghouse & NNL

SME Innovation Award
Highly Commended: DBD
Winner: Omniflex

Supply Chain Collaboration Award
Highly Commended - nucleargraduates
Winner – Activ Nuclear

Export Award
Winner - Nuvia

Ministers SME Award
Winner - stainless Metalcraft

Following the rather long speeches and awards we went to our exhibition stand and I have to say for us this was the best event yet. We did not stop from the second we got there until we left. We were always speaking to people leaving our throats soar and feet throbbing. We picked up some great business and spoke to people we had never spoken to before, in addition to catching up with some of our favs!

I would like to say a huge big thank you to the NDA for continuing to provide a free of charge event, that genuinely generates business for SMEs. It is my favourite event of the year and the event that everyone attends. You do a great job allowing your supply chain an opportunity to showcase and I thank you for that!


Just to make you all aware Sellafield have set up a new twitter account for the supply chain so make sure you are following them: @SELLtdBusiness


Tom Samson, gave evidence to the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee on the Economics of UK Energy Policy – speaking about the company's Moorside Project.
Facing questions from the Committee, Tom spoke about the progress and momentum behind the project to develop three Westinghouse AP1000® reactors in West Cumbria which, when operational, will generate up to 3.8GW of affordable low-carbon electricity from a sustainable source.
Tom also spoke about the benefits that come from the strong progress being made in constructing other AP1000 nuclear power plants elsewhere in the world.


There is no "it could only happen to me" this week as it has been a generally chatty informal blog. I will be back in a couple of weeks, when we will know how we got on in the BECBC Small Business of the Year Awards that we have been shortlisted for.
Until next time....