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25 November 2016

Cumbria Nuclear News & Views - Pulling my hair out!

Posted in NuExec Blog

Apologies I am a week late with the blog, but I just didn't get a minute to write last week. The next blog will be on the 9th December and then that will be it until the New Year. I haven't much news for you this week but I certainly have loads of funny craic which I will tell you about at the end of the blog.

ONR have removed an improvement notice served on Sellafield Ltd.
The ONR served the notice in 2015 following a number of issues at the Magnox plant. However, it has now revealed that the plant now complies with standards and the legal notice has been removed.
Although no harm or release of radioactivity had occurred, the notice was in response to shortfalls in the way operating instructions had been followed at the Magnox facility.


Calder Hall
The painstaking task of removing tens of thousands of fuel rods from the world's first nuclear power station is halfway to completion.
Workers at Calder Hall have now finished unloading fuel from the second of its four reactors, leaving two left to empty.
The defueling programme began in 2011 and is scheduled for completion in 2019. Once finished, this will allow the station to be fully decommissioned.
Calder Hall began powering homes and businesses with carbon-free electricity in 1956, the year it was opened by the Queen.
It closed in 2003, following 47 years of safe operations – 27 years longer than was originally planned.
Calder Hall was the first of a series of Magnox stations to be built in the UK, so-called because the fuel cans were made of magnesium alloy. Eleven stations were eventually built, producing 10 per cent of Britain's electricity.
As well as producing electricity, Calder Hall was also used to sterilise hypodermic syringes and produce radio cobalt used in the treatment of cancer.


In my last blog, I spoke about a presentation I had listened to from Simon Martin. I had the pleasure of meeting Simon at the BECBC awards evening and he wanted to reiterate his commitment to SME's.
He told me that one of the fundamental drivers of DDP is to allow access to the SME community, and the expertise and skills they can bring to support the Sellafield mission.

Each of the six Lot Delivery Partnerships are supported by a broad spread of SME's, which they will utilise.

They have developed a number Social Impact principles for DDP, one of them being to collectively optimise the use of local SMEs, aligning to the target of achieving 22% flowdown to the SME community.

DDP is still in the very early phase of a ten-year framework, and as yet the volume of work placed has been relatively modest. As DDP workload increases, then no doubt the flow down to the SME's will also increase.

I felt it was really kind of Simon to take the time to share that additional information with me and I really hope that the DDP community really will feed down to the SME's. All too often I have heard of SME's being named on a bid and then not ever receiving a bean out of it.


Board Game to Train Sellafield Managers
I absolutely love this story and I want to play! Vulcain Engineering has come up with the product - called Synergy - which is designed to help train the site's asset management team.
It focuses on four teams within Sellafield and aims to get all of these to work together.
This has gone down well with staff and has been shortlisted for two prestigious awards.
Apparently by doing an interactive activity you retain between 50 – 75% of the information as oppose to just 20% from a conversation.
The game covers four areas of the Sellafield business - retrievals, projects, operations and infrastructure.
Teams will at first focus on one of these but as the game progresses they then have to learn how to work together and consider the organisation as a whole. They have to consider issues like cost, risk and performance and the impact of each of these on the other.
The game is usually played by between eight and 12 people from various different staff levels around Sellafield. It usually takes about three hours to complete.


BECBC Awards 2016
Well what an evening. We had an absolute ball celebrating our 5 years of trading and being shortlisted for small business of the year. We had a table of Clients and we spent the evening playing games and carrying out forfeits, which were just hilarious and included the conga, the twist, dressing up and making a false toast. I haven't laughed so hard in a very long time.
During the speeches of the evening, Martin Chown, Supply Chain Director of Sellafield Ltd, said: "Tonight is all about good news and I'm delighted to be able to share a big change in the way that Sellafield Ltd will do business with its supply chain in future".
"From first thing on Friday morning, intellectual property (IP) rights for the innovation and ideas in our supply chain will stay with those companies".
"Sellafield Ltd will then work with them to exploit that innovation and IP around the world."
Following are all the awesome winners form the awards:

Excellence in Health and Safety
Winner: Nuvia Limited

Business Innovation
Highly Commended: Forth Engineering
Winner: Rovtech Solutions Ltd

Sustainability and the Environment
Highly Commended: West Cumbria Composting Ltd
Winner: University of Cumbria

Socio Economic Commitment to West Cumbria
Winner: Livingstone Surface Treatments Limited

Inspiring People
Highly Commended: TSP Engineering
Winner: NIS Limited

Growing Business of the Year
Winner: Prima Uno Limited

Small Business of the Year
Winner: Responsive Ltd

Large Business of the Year
Highly Commended: James Fisher Nuclear Ltd
Winner: Westlakes Engineering



Taxpayers could shoulder the multibillion-pound cost of civil engineering works for new nuclear power plants to make them easier to finance and reduce their impact on energy bills, the company seeking to build reactors in Cumbria has suggested.
Tom Samson, chief executive of NuGen, proposed reviewing how the different elements of new nuclear plants could be "carved up in a different way to allow the Government to take a role in some of the enabling infrastructure".
This could include funding major aspects of construction such as "the civil works", he told a House of Lords committee.
Mr Samson's company wants to build three Westinghouse reactors at Moorside, near Sellafield in Cumbria, in a 3.8-gigawatt project he said was expected to cost up to £15bn.
But financing presents a major challenge for the project, which is 60pc owned by Japan's Toshiba and 40pc by France's Engie, formerly GDF Suez. It has been in talks with potential investors for months about a deal.
Under the funding model used for the £18bn Hinkley Point nuclear plant, developer EDF is to shoulder the full cost of construction in return for a 35-year contract from the Government guaranteeing it subsidies for the electricity it eventually produces.
These will be levied on consumer energy bills and could cost as much as £30bn.
But the model has been criticised as inefficient and expensive.
Even EDF, which is majority-owned by the French government, struggled to raise enough funds for the construction, raising major questions about how non-state-owned groups like Toshiba could hope to.
Appearing before the Lords economic affairs committee, Mr Samson said it was "actively engaged right now in finding solutions to our financing challenge" and working on "what that funding structure looks like".
It hoped to find conditions that would allow it to "bring in debt and other sources of equity" in order to be able to take a final investment decision by the end of 2018.
Lord Darling, the former Chancellor, suggested that instead of the "elaborate quasi-market process" used for Hinkley, resulting in an "extraordinarily high" subsidy price, it could make more sense for the Government to "just build nuclear power stations".
While Mr Samson said nationalisation would be an "extreme solution", he opened the door to the Government taking a role in the non-nuclear elements of the project, saying this would be a "valid perspective".
Areas the Government could look to fund would include "potentially some of the common works, the sea water intake, the civil works", he said.
Civil works such as earth movement at Hinkley have stretched to several billion pounds and preparatory works for Moorside could be of a similar magnitude.
NuGen is already lobbying via the Cumbrian Local Enterprise Partnership for Government assistance in improving the transport infrastructure in the Cumbrian area to help support both decommissioning operations at Sellafield and the proposed construction site at Moorside.
Ministers are reported to have commissioned a study earlier this year to consider alternative funding models, which also suggested the Government could take direct stakes in future projects.
Earlier this year rival developer Horizon warned that the Government needed to come up with a framework that was palatable for private investors, not just state companies like EDF.


Things are really busy for NuExec currently and we have some great new roles. Some of the roles we are recruiting include:

  • Mechanical Design Engineer – Cranes and Handling, Cumbria
  • Structural Design Engineer – Steel, timber & concrete, Shrewsbury
  • Mechanical Design -Substations, transmission, steam supplies, compressed air or Water, Cumbria
  • Electrical Design -Substations, transmission, steam supplies, compressed air or Water, Cumbria
  • Structural Design -Substations, transmission, steam supplies, compressed air or Water, Cumbria
  • Principal / Senior Mechanical Engineer – Remote handling & robotics, Oxford
  • Quantity Surveyor – Any industry, Cumbria
  • Principal Consultant – Radioactive Waste, Bristol (Plus some home working)
  • Land Surveyor, Scotland
  • Fabrication & Welding Trainer, Cumbria
  • Training Manager, Cumbria
  • E&I Trainer, Cumbria

We have many more vacancies including a number of non-nuclear opportunities. Please visit our websites:


It Could Only Happen to me!
So, I have a story of my weekend to share with you. Get yourself a brew and sit comfortably because it will be a long one.
On Friday, me and my best friend Claire headed to Manchester for her birthday. We decided we would drive to Penrith and catch a train. The journey was uneventful and we just chatted on and drank pimms. When we arrived, we jumped into the taxi to our hotel which was about 20-minute drive out of the city. Unfortunately, Claire had decided that for this weekend I should be the designated adult. The only thing is I am not very good at adulting so knew it would be a challenge. Once we were all checked in we decided to head to the city for dinner. The guy on reception told us to cross the road and walk to the bus stop. Now I hardly ever go on buses so this was like a major challenge for me. As we crossed the road we saw the bus approach so we ran as fast as we could shouting bus, for some strange reason. A very kind man, who I think thought we had special needs, kindly let us on the bus in front of him. Half way through the journey I started to panic that although they had told us where to get on and which bus to catch they hadn't told us about the journey home. There was no option I would have to ask the bus driver when we got off, but in typical fashion at one of the bus stops he got off and another got on. Now I was really panicked as this driver didn't know where we got on. I managed to stay calm though and as we got off I explained to the driver where we needed to go back to and he kindly pointed out where to catch the bus and what bus to catch.
After dinner, we headed back to the hotel as we had had a very late night at the awards the night before and were planning a big one on Saturday night. When we got on the bus I asked if the driver could please tell us where to get off. – Maybe I am not so bad at adulting after all.
We were up early the next morning as we had plenty of shopping we wanted to do. We caught the bus without any drama and headed to the city. We were having a great day and even waited until 11.30am before having a mulled cider on the Christmas Markets. We decided to have lunch in the posh Selfridges restaurant. We were enjoying our cocktails and they brought out our food. Everything was going well until Claire noticed that on her salad was actually a real-life caterpillar having a good old munch of her lettuce. After some more shopping we decided to call into a bar for some more cocktails and the bar tender spilt a whole cocktail all down my coat – raging!
We headed back to the bus so we could get back to the hotel and get ready for our evening. In our new-found bus confidence, we jumped onto the bus without paying much attention to its number. Everything was going well until it turned off the main road and started heading through an extremely rough looking estate. I started to panic. What would we do if it didn't head back to our hotel. In my flustered state, I told Claire she would have to be the adult and at the next stop she would have to ask the bus driver for help. Thankfully a lovely older lady was sat behind us and she leant forward and said: "Don't worry girls this is the right bus. What will happen is it will go back onto the main road and as soon as you see the gym press the button and get off otherwise the bus will head off the road again." We thanked her very much and made it safely back to the hotel and I even got to press the stop button.
We got ready for our night out and headed into town. We had a lovely meal and then headed to the Alchemist for more cocktails. Our friends turned up to meet us but the bouncer wouldn't let them in which was very frustrating and no amount of negotiation would change their mind. So, we finished our drinks and went to a few more bars before heading to the Gay Village to the best club ever.
Next day we headed back to the city. We were catching a train from Manchester to Preston and then changing to Penrith. However, the train was delayed and when we finally got on it was so crowded we had to just stand in the walkway with a 100-other people. We missed out connection which was very frustrating. Thankfully there was another train we could catch with just a few minutes' wait. The journey really wasn't ideal when we were feeling fragile and shattered. We finally arrived at Penrith and I couldn't find my car parking ticket anywhere. I have never lost a parking ticket in my life – the result £60 fine!
I finally got home and decided it was time to take off the party lashes the beauticians had put on for me for the awards dinner. I got out the oil and followed the instructions but the thing wouldn't budge and my eyes were throbbing. Finally, 2 pieces came off but attached were all my own lashes and I had two bald spots. I cried and panicked and didn't have a clue what to do. I sent a message to the owner of the salon but they weren't back open until Tuesday she told me to leave them alone until then and they would wipe some lash remover on and they would come right off. I was there first thing on Tuesday and they couldn't get them to budge. After an hour of rubbing and scrubbing with this very strong glue remover that actually stripped the beauticians nail varnish they finally came off. I am now left with just a few lashes and bald patches – gutted. I definitely won't be getting them again, nor will I be fluttering my eyelids at anyone for a very long time.
Until next time.....