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17 February 2017

Cumbria Nuclear News & Views - OMG She is Back!

Posted in NuExec Blog

Do you ever feel like you are climbing a mountain but never quite getting to the top? Every time you reach a ridge and think you are there you climb over it to still see more and more climbing. Then you are nearly there and you see people waving and shouting "come on you're nearly there, you can do it." And just as your hand touches the top to haul your body up, there is a massive landslide and you end up back where you began without ever having stood on the top! - Well that is how I've been feeling and that is why I haven't written since the beginning of December. I have been fighting with myself over whether to write or not. It feels like all I ever have to write about is how companies are struggling, profits are diminishing, people are being made redundant, new build is under threat and I have just fallen out of love with the industry.
I had just about talked myself out of ever writing again but then people started asking me why I hadn't been writing, how much they missed reading the blogs, what an influence I had (I still don't believe this one) and how losing the blog would be like losing the supply chain voice of what's really going on. So, I have given in to peer pressure and decided I would write again.

Just a little fresh news from Sellafield this week:

For the first time, radioactive sludge from the world's oldest nuclear storage pond has been packaged safely within a modern store, ready for long-term disposal.
The sludge has been transferred from the pond to a new encapsulation plant, where it is grouted and processed into a storage state ready for final disposal in the UK's geological disposal facility.
The mud-like substance has developed in the depths of the Pile Fuel Storage Pond during its 65 year lifespan, and is now being removed so the facility can be safely decommissioned.
This key step follows years of careful planning and preparation and it will take several years to remove all of the sludge in the pond.
Once the mixture is cured and a cement cap has been added, the drum can be lidded and transferred remotely to a modern storage plant where it will remain pending final disposal to a long term facility.
The project is being delivered 10 years ahead of schedule and for half of the predicted cost of £200 million. A 10-year project to dewater the pond will start in 2019, while sludge is still being removed.
The 100-metre long pond was originally used to store nuclear fuel used to make atomic weapons.


BECBC Nuclear Group
Hosted by Areva
Areva - Steve Topping set up Westlakes office

Areva created in 2001

Was a merger of Framatome created in 1958 French American nuclear construction developed PWR, Cogema 1976 production division of CEA, and Technicatome 1972.

In 2016 did a restructure as Fukushima had a big impact on their business. In November 2016 contract signed between Areva and EDF regarding the sale of Areva NPs activities: reactors and services.

Nov 16 launched new UK Business model greater focus on decommissioning and engineering

New Areva maintains an experienced and expert view of the entire nuclear lifecycle

UK business units include Areva Projects UK, with extensive experience in delivering specialised consultancy and engineering services, and Areva UK business development and stakeholder engagement

45years in waste management and recycling used fuel
15 years in decommissioning and dismantling
Areva is able to support each stage of the decommissioning process with a broad range of expertise and experience.
Engineering and operations team in Warrington

In 2008 Areva bought RMC.
100 people
Skill mix - Nuclear safety, fire safety, shielding and dose assessment, human factors, waste management and decommissioning and engineering


Simon Martin, DDP Programme Manager

DDP - £50m placed through framework
33% has gone to SMES

6 -9 months at Sellafield.
Became a standalone company for the first time. Decommissioning is the best it's been for a while.
MSSS Sep 2 machine constructed and going though commissioning. Passive ventilation system.
Pile fuel storage - moving and successful
Cladding silo - major prep work going on
Processing plants achieving well same as vit facilities
B204 stack - carousel moving up ready for demolition starting early summer
Adapt - won contact for B6 stack through DDP
Supply chain supported and helped with all the work

What's Next:
Reprocessing nearly there Thorpe will be ending and Magnox not far behind
Government consultation on pensions is having an impact
Trying to move mission forward

Transformation programme focussing on:
Supply Chain Opportunities

New Decommissioning Director John Oliver
Head of Development and Communities Jamie Reed

Current forecast £600m
Competition in Lot 1 £5m other than that direct award
Vision - to make DDP the framework of choice
Not intended to replace existing frameworks e.g. Access or ISA
Scope Delivery covering full task or project life cycles
Increase the socioeconomic footprint

Lot 1 Remediation, PFSP, PFCS, Major Projects
lot 3 MSSS

DDP is working differently with the supply chain
7 partners including Sellafield as they see themselves as a partner
Collaboration is key to the success
Create continuity in the supply chain
Early engagement with the supply chain
Greater focus on rewards based on business, programme and project outcomes

2017 -19 plan
Collaboration to maximise social impact return
Alignment to new SL social impact strategy
Outcomes and impact based
11 social impact principles
Nominated lead JV with support


LLWR Martin Harrison Business Services Manager

Business services market place is now open to all SLCs in the NDA estate.

Environmental safety case framework announcement of successful business soon

IT expertise need to get registered as IT work coming out.


NI Dinner
I was absolutely delighted to attend the NI Dinner last night as a guest of NIS. The dinner reminded me what wonderful people we have in our industry. Speaking to people it feels like things are starting to move again, someone described it as "feeling like spring" which I really felt summed it up. But more importantly than that I noticed something very special last night, that made me feel extremely proud; instead of the supply chain fighting with competitors looking for scraps of work, I saw businesses offering a united front. Competitor businesses sat together side by side understanding that they are stronger together than on their own. Instead of (going back to my opening, which I wrote on Thursday) standing at the top of the mountain and sticking their fingers up at their competitors, they are reaching down and helping them climb back up. That spirit of togetherness wasn't there before and to see the support, collaboration and partnership was very humbling.


New Build
Well here lies another pile of hot steaming poo! So the latest at time of writing, is that
Toshiba will still consider participating in the Moorside project to build three new nuclear reactors near Sellafield in Cumbria.
But Toshiba has now published a provisional outlook report for its third quarter, which outlines the status of major projects in its overseas nuclear power business including in Cumbria. Toshiba is a 60 per cent shareholder in nuclear developer NuGen, the owner of the Moorside project.
In a section entitled 'outlook for the project', Toshiba said that it "will consider participating in the project without taking on any risk from carrying out actual construction work". The outlook section concluded that "as planned from the beginning, Toshiba will seek to sell the shares to interested parties".
NuGen is continuing to progress plans to develop Moorside but the question has to be asked as to who will buy the 60% shares from Toshiba? In addition, with this on the Horizon it is likely to be back to square one for all those businesses who for the third time have built relationships and secured contracts / frameworks / agreements. In my opinion the only way there is any chance of this moving forward is if the Government step in and make the decision to fund it. There is no question that we need nuclear power to keep our lights on, but who is going to be man enough to do something about it?



Things are certainly hard going at the moment but we do have some great roles and are always looking to work with businesses to find them exceptional individuals for the nuclear industry. Likewise we are always looking to speak to great candidates.


BECBC / It Could Only Happen to me replacement!
So it is with a really heavy heart that after 7 years on the senior management team and laterly as a director I have decided to stand down from my role within the cluster. This actually makes me really emotional and I would like to tell you a story:

I was 32 and was so nervous going to my first board meeting, I felt like a school girl going into the head teachers office. Sat at the table were all these very important, rather older (sorry guys) and all but one were men. I sat there without daring to speak just working everybody out and trying to carve a place for myself. It didn't take me long to realise I was going to be the "doer" and that suited me very well. I didn't feel important enough or adult enough to do all the "strategic" big boy stuff so I took on the role of marketing, sales and obviously recruitment when required. Whenever BECBC had a stand at all the different events I was always there raising our profile and signing up new members. I brought an energy and enthusiasm to the board of which had never seen before. (Between you and I, I think I became a bit like marmite.) I also became, and remain the voice of the SME's and the not engineering and technical businesses that make up our membership. In fact, even to this day I must bang on about it at least 5 times in every board meeting - however I digress from my story. So I became a regular at the board meetings and began to build excellent relationships with the likes of Dick Razz, previous MD of LLWR, Neil McNicholas, previous MD of DRSL, Steve McClure of Bardon Aggregates. These guys taught me so very much, although they may not know it. they helped me become the person in business that I am. Also when Alison Johnston, Dodd and Co joined the board she became a real friend to me, for which I will be eternally grateful. Without these key people and BECBC I would never have started my business. Let me explain, Dick Razz quickly took me under his wing and started to give me business and life advice. He would take me for lunch and coffee, and by association people started to be interested in speaking to me, after all if someone as important as Dick was having lunch with me I must be worth talking to? I fondly remember the fantastic tour he gave me of LLWR with his light on the top of the car taking me all over the site. Steve was a strong character but with a really good heart and really looked out for me. We worked together on the very first awards in 2010 and he gave me such praise building my confidence which to be fair was very low. Alison not only gave me great dating advice, but also gave me some fantastic accounting advice in encouraging me to set up NuExec. She might not remember it but she told me she believed in me and that meant the world to me that someone as successful as Alison could believe someone like me could actually run a successful business. Then the lovely Neil gave me my first two roles when I set up the business to ensure we had a revenue coming in. The fact he believed in me enough to give me an opportunity was so very humbling and I was so grateful. In addition to the board team, through my role I was able to build my network to a level that made it possible for me to start my business. Some of you may not know but back in June 2008 I arrived in Cumbria with a 22 month old and a 3.5 year old and just the things I could fit in an old Ford Fiesta. I had nothing, no money, nowhere to live and no job. I was broken hearted and suffering with an eating disorder, I couldn't have been at a lower place. I genuinely believe my involvement in the cluster, the people I became associated with and who guided, mentored and cared for me made me the person I am and helped me achieve all I have achieved over those years. I also need to mention one more person who has helped me on my journey who has been my rock, my confidante, my sounding board, my partner in crime and most importantly my friend and that is the lovely Hazel Duhy. It would be remiss of me not to thank the current board many of which, I would like to think, have become friends. I would like to thank them, especially Liz Bowe who goes above and beyond for the members and the cluster. Keep up the good work. I will still be attending the BECBC monthly meetings so you can't get rid of me that easily.

Until next time.....