Cerberus Nuclear Welcomes Graduate Consultants

Cerberus Nuclear is delighted to announce that two more graduate consultants have started with the company this month! 

Prior to joining the company, Andrew Smith successfully completed the NTEC Nuclear Science and Technology Masters. As part of this, Andrew worked with Cerberus Nuclear on his master’s dissertation. His project focused on criticality calculations for a NWS transport package, for which some parameters were varied in order to examine the sensitivity of the multiplication factor. 

Tu Nguyen joins Cerberus Nuclear following the submission of his PhD thesis. Tu’s PhD thesis was on a Research project on Safety, Regulation and Digital Applications for Fusion Powerplants. Prior to his PhD, Tu also completed the PTNR masters course at the University of Birmingham, which has provided him with the background knowledge and nuclear physics and reactor technologies for application in his new role. 

Andrew and Tu have been working on an innovation project since starting with the company. Andrew is joining the criticality safety team, and Tu will be supporting both the shielding and criticality teams in the future. We would like to welcome them both to the company! 

Cerberus Criticality Assessors attend WPC ALARP Workshop

Cerberus Nuclear Criticality Team members, Sarah, Katrina and Haleema, recently engaged in a fantastic ALARP workshop from the Working Party for Criticality (WPC) Continued Professional Development (CPD) catalogue. This workshop was hosted at the Engine Rooms in Birchwood and provided a comprehensive dive into what ALARP means for criticality and how it can best be implemented in practice.

A diverse group of speakers gave their niche expertise, with the additional opportunity to talk through case studies in groups and problem solve issues. This was great in further equipping our team with the knowledge and tools to continue doing great work. A particular favourite was Dave Kirkwood (Sellafield Ltd) talk on “ALARP Considerations within Criticality Emergency Planning”.

We’re really grateful to the event organisers and speakers with additional thanks to the WPC and Deb Hill for organising and facilitating the CPD workshop, providing a collaborative learning environment. A big thank you for such an insightful session! We look forward to integrating the tools we have learnt going forward.

Sarah attends MCNP course at Los Alamos

Our criticality safety assessor Sarah recently went on a trip to Los Alamos, New Mexico. This was not inspired by the latest Oppenheimer film but rather to attend the MCNP Intermediate Training course run by Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL).

During the training, Sarah got to grips with using the MCNP 6 code, building advanced geometries and sources, understanding advanced outputs and was introduced to a selection of variance reduction techniques. She also came back with a few insights to the updates in the latest MCNP 6.3 release. The course was a mixture of lecture and practical content, taught by a variety of MCNP developers from LANL whose expertise and patient instruction was greatly appreciated.

There was also opportunity to discover more about the history of Los Alamos itself, from the Ancestral Pueblo peoples, through Spanish occupation (the name “Los Alamos” means “The Cottonwoods” in Spanish) and homesteaders leading to the eventual requisition of the land in support of the Manhattan Project and the later impact of the Cold War.

Now she’s back, Sarah is looking forward to implementing her learning in support of client projects.

International Conference on Nuclear Criticality Safety

Cerberus Nuclear recently attended the International Conference on Nuclear Criticality Safety (ICNC) in Sendai, Japan. Held every four years, ICNC is an opportunity to learn about new and novel things happening around the world in criticality safety and well as giving those in attendance an opportunity to discuss criticality concepts with their international colleagues. It was also a great opportunity to see some sights in Japan and spend time with our UK colleagues!

Cerberus nuclear were proud to participate in the conference presenting the following papers:

  • ‘Strategic Characterisation to Support the Development of Criticality Safety Assessments for Decommissioning’ by Tom Page and Barrie Greenhalgh.
  • ‘Implementation of CARTA into Criticality Training Programmes’ by Katrina Christaki, Toby Tyas and Stewart Hay.
  • ‘Cyclone – New Features for Criticality Safety Analyses’ by Stewart Hay, Carl Hughes and Peter Taylor.

As the conference was located in Japan, a number of papers were presented detailing the unique criticality challenges of decommissioning the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Cerberus Nuclear joined a technical tour to the former power plant, where decommissioning activities were taking place. We visited the Interim storage Facility for Removed Soil and Waste and the tour ended at the site of the accident with each reactor in a different state of decommissioning.

As well as arranging a variety of interesting paper tracks in the conference itself, the organisers arranged a banquet with authentic Japanese food and entertainment which was very well received!

Cerberus would like to thank the conference organisers on a very successful conference and look forward to the next ICNC that will be held a bit closer to home in Manchester, UK.

While in Japan, Stewart and Tom also attended the British embassy in Tokyo to meet the fantastic nuclear trade team there and discuss potential opportunities with a Japanese company. Subsequently, Cerberus Nuclear have been included in the Buyer's Guide to the UK Nuclear Industry, which has been developed for the Japanese Market by the UK Department for Business and Trade.

NTEC N13 Criticality Safety Management

Cerberus Nuclear recently supported the NTEC N13 Criticality Safety Management module, delivered by Stuart Christie at the University of Manchester. Stewart Hay provided a talk on criticality safety assessment with a focus on real-world experience of delivering criticality safety assessments across the UK.

For Stewart, it was a pleasure to be back involved with a module he undertook as a student back in 2005/6, and one that sparked his interest in criticality safety.

The Nuclear Technology Education Consortium (NTEC) was established in 2005 following extensive consultations with the UK nuclear sector, including industry, regulators, the Ministry of Defence, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, government departments and the Cogent Sector Skills Council. The seven UK universities and higher education institutions in the Consortium provide flexible postgraduate training for the nuclear sector with the breadth and format of the training designed to meet the UK’s projected nuclear skills requirements in decommissioning and clean-up, reactor technology and fusion. Read more about it here.

Photograph of the Schuster Building at the University of Manchester. Credit Mike Peel (www.mikepeel.net)

Cerberus Nuclear at SOFE 2023

Cerberus Nuclear recently attended the IEEE Symposium on Fusion Engineering (SOFE) in Oxford. The biennial conference with a focus on fusion excellence brings together scientists, engineers, researchers and industry professionals working in the field of nuclear fusion, providing a platform to exchange knowledge, collaborate on research, and discuss the latest developments in the field of nuclear fusion. The conference also provides opportunities for large fusion projects from both the public and private sector to showcase the progress of their powerplant initiatives.

Cerberus Nuclear were proud to participate in the conference programme, with John Billingsley presenting a poster to showcase the work of his recent development project. The project focussed on the development of optimisation techniques to inform the design of layered neutron shields using material cross-section data. The work generated a lot of interest, with optimisation techniques like this likely to play a key role in the design and delivery of commercial fusion reactors.

The week-long conference concluded with a tour of UKAEA’s Culham campus which is home to several major fusion research facilities and projects including the Joint European Torus (JET), which has been one of the world’s most significant experiments for achieving controlled fusion. The world-recognised campus is at the heart of fusion research in the UK, and is undergoing rapid development to be able to further innovate and solve challenges across the fusion sector and beyond. The tour also saw private fusion companies First Light Fusion and Tokamak Energy showcasing their latest technologies for achieving fusion.

Thank you to UKAEA for hosting a fantastic conference, and Cerberus Nuclear look forward to collaborating across the fusion industry to contribute to the realisation of clean, limitless energy.

Katrina Elected as WPC Secretary

Cerberus Nuclear is an active member of the Working Party on Criticality (WPC).  The WPC is a formal sub-group of the Safety Directors Forum.  The WPC’s focus is criticality safety issues up to, but not including, experimental and in-core power reactor operations. The issues considered are relevant to fabrication, transportation, storage and other operations relating to nuclear materials (e.g. new build, enrichment, reprocessing, decommissioning and long-term waste management).

Katrina Christaki, one of our criticality safety assessors, has recently been elected as secretary for the WPC. This role involves preparing the agenda and minutes for the meetings as well as management of the WPC papers. Katrina is excited to take on this key role supporting the activities of the WPC.

Cerberus Nuclear Offsets Carbon Emissions with Ecologi

Cerberus Nuclear is committed to reducing its carbon footprint. Our Environmental Policy states that we accept responsibility for the harmful effects our operations have on both the local and global environment, and that we are committed to reducing them. We are proud of the steps we are taking to reduce our environmental impact.  

Some of our company benefits that help reduce our company emissions are:  

In addition to the above, our strategy is to carbon offset our business travel miles. All employees log their business mileage after business travel in our Environmental Impact Travel Log. This allows us to calculate the carbon emissions from travel for offsetting, which can then be offset. 

Cerberus Nuclear uses Ecologi for carbon offsetting. Ecologi provides businesses with multiple climate solutions, from planting trees and nature-based projects to supporting carbon avoidance projects and renewable energy projects. Ecologi also visualises our impact, which you can view here.

Cerberus Nuclear Sponsor YGN Shielding and Criticality Event

Cerberus Nuclear were recently delighted to be the proud sponsors of the YGN Introduction to Shielding and Criticality Safety Event, organised by the esteemed Nuclear Institute Young Generation Network. The conference brought together a diverse range of delegates from across the nuclear sector to share their insights and expertise on Shielding and Criticality Safety.

The informative seminar was a resounding success, featuring notable speakers from various sectors. In addition, our very own Katrina Christaki, Sam Hilton and John Billingsley had the privilege of delivering captivating talks on the physics of criticality safety, a day in the life of a shielding assessor, and the application of shielding in fusion. As a proud sponsor, we also had the chance to showcase CARTA, our in-house criticality safety training tool, and the many ways it can address the unique challenges facing the nuclear industry.

The event’s comprehensive program was well received by attendees who praised the insightful presentations and dynamic discussions. This conference was especially meaningful as it addressed pressing industry concerns such as skill gaps in critical areas.

Thank you to Frances Yates for organising such an informative event, and we look forward to continued partnerships with the Nuclear Institute YGN and supporting future events that advance knowledge and collaboration in the nuclear sector.

Cerberus Nuclear present to Birmingham's post-graduate nuclear masters courses

Recently, Cerberus Nuclear provided support to the University of Birmingham’s post-graduate nuclear master courses (the Physics of Technology of Nuclear Reactors and Nuclear decommissioning) through a lecture presented by Katrina Christaki, Jacob Westerman, and Zachary Strangwood as part of an industry lecture series. 

During the lecture, the Cerberus team provided an introduction to radiation shielding, Monte Carlo codes and criticality safety assessment in industry, which was supplemented by case studies of their innovative projects in the past 12 months. 

Jacob highlighted dynamic source movement assessment techniques, their usefulness in radiation transport assessment, as well as demonstrating the shielding verification procedure by emphasising the training, equipment and safety measure required to conduct the process.  

Zachary, a recent graduate of the PTNR course, offered industry insight into how to accurately model and setup an example shielding problem by using Monte Carlo techniques. Additionally, Zachary discussed his dissertation project which consisted of modelling various radiation shielding scenarios with a moving source in MCNP. 

Katrina presented an introduction to criticality safety, highlighting the factors affecting criticality and where criticality safety fits into the industry. Furthermore, Katrina presented CARTA, a Cerberus developed criticality training tool that employs machine learning to calculate k-eff in real-time for operator training and provided an opportunity to the students to test the tool with a VR headset. 

The lecture was well-received by the students, providing them with an excellent understanding of the unique and innovative work done by the Cerberus team. 

Additionally, Cerberus plans to supervise similar dissertation projects to the one Zachary completed last year, supporting the University of Birmingham and the NTEC master’s courses. If this is something you may be interest in whether a student of one of these courses or not, please get in touch.