Completion of ARC funded CARTA Software

CARTA is criticality safety training software developed here at Cerberus Nuclear. Uniquely, CARTA displays a realistic value of k-effective as the user interacts with the simulation, either in a conventional first-person desktop format or Virtual Reality (VR) environment. The user can see, in real-time, the effect that their actions have on criticality safety. The CARTA methodology requires a multi-disciplinary approach, combining criticality safety calculations, machine learning and a gaming environment.

We have recently completed the software development for two training scenarios. This programme of work has been funded by the UK’s Alpha Resilience and Capability (ARC) programme.

The project has involved engagement with representatives from many of the ARC member organisations. This has given relevant stakeholders the opportunity to influence the functionality and appearance of CARTA as a training tool, prior to integration into training programmes within their own organisations. Two training simulations have been created:

This simulation is intended to be conceptual rather than realistic. It allows the maximum range of effects to be demonstrated, making it useful for training operators and assessors and also for wider stakeholder engagement.

Images of CARTA development. From concept through to the final product.

We are now looking at options for implementation at each of the various ARC member organisations including Sellafield Limited, AWE, NNL, Nuclear Waste Services, ONR and DSRL. If you work for any of these organisations and would like access to CARTA, then please get in touch (

We are now actively seeking organisations that would benefit from this particular software or bespoke criticality safety training scenarios using the CARTA methodology. If you would like to discuss your idea, please get in touch using

Orthrus Software

Cerberus Nuclear are pleased to announce that we have created a spin-off company called Orthrus Software. Orthrus specialises in engineering software tools and machine learning. Crucially, it will provide a platform for the release of Cyclone™.  

Cyclone is a suite of software utilities intended to facilitate file management, data management, and visualisation of Monte Carlo models and results. The various components of Cyclone™ have been developed over a number of years and greatly enhance our in-house calculation capability. 

Head over to the Orthrus website ( to find out more.

UK Working Party on Criticality, November 2021

Cerberus Nuclear attended the second Working Party on Criticality (WPC) meeting of the year, taking place as a web-conference.

Stewart Hay attended as our representative with graduate, Katrina Christaki, attending as an observer for the first time. As the meeting was held online, it was a good opportunity for Katrina to progress her professional development gaining insight to the range of issues considered by the WPC and its sub-groups as well as how they interact with licenced sites.

There were discussions surrounding criticality resources and training with and improvements that could be made in the future. We also gave an update on our Alpha Resilience Capability (ARC) Programme funded project, CARTA.

The next WPC will be the 100th meeting, expected to take place around May 2022. It is hoped that this may take place in-person once again.

Emergency First Aid Training at Work

Cerberus Nuclear recently took part in ‘Emergency First Aid Training at Work’, delivered by St John Ambulance.

Julie (St John Ambulance) delivered an informative and engaging course with lots of interaction from team. The course is aimed at first aiders in small, low risk working environments, like ours, and teaches basic life saving first aid skills including CPR, bleeding, choking adults, use of defibrillators, and health & safety regulation.

In recognition of the flexible way in which we work, we decided it would be best for everyone to undertake the training so as not to be reliant on ‘nominated first aiders’. This was the first time (almost) all of the company were together since before the pandemic and provided an opportunity for the recent new starters to meet everyone (more news on this soon!). The fact that we were also able to go for a meal afterwards was a bonus.

Following on from the training, we have made improvements to our office first aid kit and fitted a defibrillator in our Birchwood Park office. The feedback from the course was very positive and we would recommend it to other organisations.

Cerberus Nuclear at the World Nuclear Exhibition in Paris

Cerberus Nuclear are attending the World Nuclear Exhibition in Paris on 30th November - 2nd December 2021.

The WNE is the world's largest exhibition dedicated to nuclear energy, and the first platform dedicated to the global civil nuclear community. The three day event combines business meetings, guided tours, workshops, debates and panel discussions. This year's event theme is "the nuclear industry, a key partner for a low carbon society in a responsible future".

Our booth is in the Start Up Planet, a dedicated exhibition space for about 20 new companies in the nuclear field which has been specially designed to optimise product demonstrations, pitches, networking and new encounters. In addition to our exhibition booth, we have also been entered into the WNE Innovation Awards for the Radiation Protection Training Aid (RAPTA).

This year, the WNE Awards Ceremony will take place at 5pm on 30th November. There will be two prizes for each of the four innovation categories - Nuclear Safety, Operational Excellence, Products & Services, and Skills & Knowledge Management.

Dan, Tom and Emily will be attending the exhibition, so head over to booth M29 in the Start Up Planet to meet them!

2021 Summer Projects

The end of September was dissertation deadline time for our three NTEC summer students. This was our busiest year to date, welcoming three students from the University of Manchester.

NTEC (Nuclear Technology Education Consortium) offer a postgraduate-level masters degree in Nuclear Science and Technology, which is delivered in both directly taught and distance learning formats. Students produce a dissertation over the summer, often involving support of industry partners like Cerberus Nuclear.

This year, students worked on projects involving modelling of arrays in criticality safety, analytical methods for radiation shielding and machine learning optimisation.

All of our students successfully completed their projects and we wait in anticipation for their results!

STEM Ambassador Update

Katrina has been participating in the STEM (Science, Technology Engineering and Maths) Ambassador programme and she recently received her first 15-hour engagement award. Below she describes the role and what inspired her to apply.

STEM Ambassadors is a government-run scheme that brings together a range of people from a range of disciplines and backgrounds, including engineers, designers, architects, scientists and technicians. They help bring a new and inspiring perspective to STEM lessons and career opportunities.

STEM Ambassadors is a government-run scheme that brings together a range of people from a range of disciplines and backgrounds, including engineers, designers, architects, scientists and technicians. They help bring a new and inspiring perspective to STEM lessons and career opportunities.

It is a flexible programme where teachers can get in touch with STEM ambassadors for their own individual needs.

I signed up to become a STEM ambassador with support from Cerberus with the goal to inspire more young people from all backgrounds to engage with STEM subjects.

Becoming a STEM ambassador during the COVID-19 pandemic has been a unique challenge as going into schools physically has not been an option. Everything has been done virtually which has given me the opportunity to engage with schools further afield, no longer having the travel considerations.

Instead of going to schools, I have had many meaningful conversations with teachers about my career path and how to inspire children to engage with their classes. I have been discussing what I do day-to-day so they can feed it back to their students and put some of the lessons into perspective. As a student at secondary school, I learnt about nuclear power plants but had no idea of the associated jobs and whether I would be interested in doing the activities day-to-day. In such an uncertain time, having context surrounding students’ virtual lessons has been key to their engagement.

As things begin to open up again, I look forward to doing more in-person volunteering and running my own events. I would especially like to help run an after-school science club with exciting experiments that there is no time for within the curriculum and attend in-person career fairs.

Katrina Christaki, Graduate Criticality Safety Assessor

"We're delighted that Katrina has identified such a worthwhile role, it sits really well alongside our structured criticality training programme. She makes a great role model for students and the company fully supports her continued participation."

Stewart Hay, Director

Sellafield LINC: Image Processing for Assessing Package Integrity

The Challenge

LINC with Sellafield Ltd is a scheme that encourages SMEs at local and national level to collaborate and deliver innovative solutions to support the mission at Sellafield. LINC challenge 42 was titled ‘Image Processing for Assessing Package Integrity using Machine Learning’ and set the challenge as follows:

“The long-term storage of nuclear waste is at the heart of the nuclear industry in the UK. As a requirement this material must be examined on a regular basis, which generates a vast amount of data to be reviewed. Presently this is done manually and takes a lot of time and is vulnerable to human error."

Cerberus Nuclear’s Data Science team proposed the development of software containing a trained machine learning computer vision model that would be capable of automatically recognising issues that could affect integrity of the package. Our team use the ‘Agile’ design methodology, which incorporates software testing in short, focused development cycles; ideal for the project.

We were delighted when Sellafield Ltd chose our solution ahead of some tough competition.

ANDI: Automated Nuclear Damage Inspection

ANDI is a high-quality user-friendly software program that utilises computer vision machine learning for automated identification of damage from externally supplied video.

The software allows detailed examination of product can inspection videos, automatically identifying damage such as scratches, dents and corrosion. The neural network within ANDI uses a cutting-edge R-CNN approach for image analysis and was trained using previous examples of damage.

Damage identified is highlighted within an embedded video player, which allows users to quickly skip to areas of interest and examine results frame by frame to inspect the exact moment(s) that damage has been detected. The confidence level of identified damage can be customised by the user with damage highlights switched on or off to assist with detailed inspection.

An integrated inspection report system was incorporated into the software to allow users to make notes and log frames for easy follow up review. The software also allows the processing of multiple batches of inspection videos with minimal user interaction. This allows the review of multiple processed results within a single session.

The algorithm for the Sellafield challenge uses an extension of the R-CNN called the Mask R-CNN. The R-CNN algorithm (Region based Convolutional Neural Network) can detect and classify objects within images, it focuses on variations of colour, texture and scale within an image to form a region.

“I really like the look and feel of the software and I’m impressed how well the neural network is identifying the key elements of damage, it’s very good!”

Gareth Myers, Technical Researcher, Project Lead, Sellafield Ltd

“We are delighted that Cerberus Nuclear helped make a difference at Sellafield Ltd. The Data Science team have delivered a great solution, bringing modern techniques to the nuclear industry.”

Daniel Cork, Director, Cerberus Nuclear

Sellafield Ltd are currently using ANDI to enhance their damage inspection workflow which, prior to using the software, had taken many man-hours to identify, categorise and log.

Cerberus Nuclear are proud to announce ANDI has recently been a key feature for inTechBrew. inTechBrew promotes the latest high Technology Readiness Level (TRL) nuclear industry innovations across UK and Europe.

Machine Learning
Computer Vision

Previously, the team developed a custom computer vision object identification algorithm to identify cars and lorries on a motorway using R-CNN object detection method.

The algorithm identified the number of objects, object type (car, lorry, etc.), object colour, object speed and confidence in match. In addition, a report was generated that summarised the information gathered over time. The development was to demonstrate validity of use for stopped car identification as well as traffic monitoring purposes.

The Sellafield Ltd LINC challenge aligned well with the previous development work already performed and paved the way for the creation of ANDI. Additional technical challenges such as variable lighting, frame blur and reflections had to be overcome as well as creating a custom user-friendly interface that met with Sellafield Ltd requirements. The processing time for the computer vision algorithm was also enhanced.

Cerberus Receives ARC Funding to Develop Criticality Safety VR Training Software

Cerberus Nuclear is a hub for innovation in criticality safety and radiation shielding and we are pleased to announce that we have made a successful application for funding from the UK’s Alpha Resilience and Capability (ARC) programme. ARC was created by BEIS (Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy) to ensure that the UK retains its world-leading alpha capabilities: from operations and maintenance, to high-end R&D and design. This cross-industry consortium includes the National Nuclear Laboratory, Sellafield Limited, AWE and ONR.

Over the last two years Cerberus Nuclear has developed CARTA, a concept for criticality safety VR (Virtual Reality) training software, which we successfully presented at ICNC2019. Uniquely, CARTA uses a machine learning algorithm to predict k-effective 'on the fly' for a given system, such as an alpha facility glovebox. When coupled to a VR headset, CARTA gives users an immersive experience of the facility environment and the effect of their actions on the system’s reactivity.

The ARC funding will support the next phase of development, to refine the concept into a software package for members of the ARC consortium to use. CARTA will deliver tangible benefits directly to operators on plant, criticality safety specialists and other stakeholders in criticality safety. The software package will use a variety of scenarios in desktop and VR environments, to provide intuitive user interfaces. The underpinning data will be based on accurate modelling of the neutron physics, providing a realistic environment for trainees to improve their understanding of the complexities associated with criticality safety.

The specifics of the training scenarios will be guided by a Technical Steering Committee, comprising stakeholders from the various ARC member organisations. This will ensure that the training scenarios are relevant and can be effectively integrated into their existing training programmes.

We are now actively seeking organisations that would benefit from bespoke criticality safety training scenarios. If you would like to discuss your idea, please get in touch using

University of Liverpool – NTEC Shielding Design Process Lecture

The UK Shielding Forum (TSF) has provided support for the Radiation Shielding Module of the University of Liverpool’s NTEC course for many years, providing an industry focused knowledge input to the radiation shielding module.

Several TSF member organisations provide lectures on a wide range of subjects, from Monte Carlo and deterministic codes to practical radiation shielding applications.

Cerberus Nuclear is key member of TSF and provides a student lecture on the Shielding Design Process. Our talk focuses on how this high-level process is used in industry to supporting facility design.

This year, due to the restrictions of Covid-19, our own Geoff Hall pre-recorded the lecture, which was shown to students and very well received. This was then followed up the next day by a live Q&A session where students were tasked to think about the practicalities of defining a shielding design basis and performing shielding calculations based on that design basis for a realistic scenario. They were then given the chance to ask general questions about the subjects covered in the lecture.

The live session was well attended by students, who engaged with the exercise and asked a variety of pertinent questions both about the exercise and the lecture itself. Indeed, the session proved so popular that it ran an additional 30 minutes until the start of the next session!