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)
New Starter: Nick Seibt
Cerberus Nuclear is delighted to welcome Nick Seibt to the company as the first new starter of this year's graduate intake. Nick first started working with the company during his dissertation project for his Master’s degree in Nuclear Science and Technology. His project focused on the generation of a data set for use with MCNP to train a machine learning model, used for identification of crack like structures in concrete.
Previously, Nick has worked in Germany, supporting the decommissioning process of various nuclear facilities, including handling and calibration of industry standard measurement equipment and analysis of procured data. Nick is joining our Radiation Shielding Team, and will also be supporting Nuclear Characterisation projects in the near future.
Cerberus Nuclear Knit Pumpkins
At Cerberus Nuclear, we are always looking for new things to do together. Yesterday, we started a new group activity: knitting!
The “Crafternoon” was well attended by those with some knitting experience and beginners. The session was seasonal, with a pumpkin pattern being followed by the group. Our Commercial Manager, Emily, took everyone through the knit and purl stitches and was on hand for troubleshooting and catching dropped stitches with her crochet hook.
There were varying degrees of success, with one pumpkin finished, and a couple abandoned along the way, but the remaining four have been taken home for completion. One person even started working through a beginners guide!
I’m really happy with what everyone achieved on our first crafternoon. Everyone who attended came with an open mind and it was great to spend some time in the office together doing something other than work. Thank you to everyone for making this a fun afternoon, and congratulations to Katrina for completing her pumpkin! - Emily, Crafternoon Organiser
The session was finished with a takeaway ordered to the office. The feedback for crafting was positive, and plans were put in place for a Christmas themed crafternoon in December.
Cerberus Nuclear Delivers Criticality Training to Tradebe Inutec
In addition to criticality safety consultancy services, Cerberus Nuclear has expertise in delivering criticality safety training. Our in-house graduate criticality assessor training (aka “Crit College”) is delivered in line with the Working Party on Criticality guidelines, and our more senior assessors are experience in mentoring our graduate recruits.
We have also developed CARTA, a criticality training aid, available in VR and desktop-based versions. CARTA software is available for purchase and Cerberus Nuclear can provide advice on how to integrate it into your own criticality training programme. In addition, we are able to utilise CARTA when delivering training for our clients.
Recently, our Criticality Safety Lead, Toby Tyas, delivered criticality safety training to the SHEQ department at Tradebe Inutec. The first part of the training was held over Microsoft Teams and focussed on the factors that affect criticality. The second training session was held on site and was centred on the principles of fissile mass control.
Toby used CARTA VR to enhance the training. A strength of CARTA is that it allows people to apply the principles discussed in conventional classroom presentations through exercises within the CARTA simulations. We think this makes for more enjoyable and effective learning. On the day trainees were very positive about CARTA and said that they particularly liked the intuitive nature of the spheres in the MAGIC MERV Scenario. CARTA can also be configured for use in a seated position, so people who might be a little nervous about VR can feel confident enough to take part.
As part of the exercise Toby had placed some error traps along the way, which the team successfully identified and resolved, so full marks! Toby is very grateful for the warm welcome and active participation of everyone who attended the training session.
Sarah represents Cerberus Nuclear on YGN Tour of Urenco
The day commenced with an introduction to the functionality of the Capenhurst site followed by presentations from early careers technical staff from Urenco UK, Urenco Chem Plants and Urenco Nuclear Stewardship subsidiaries. These covered the current operations and gave insight to both the history of fuel enrichment operations and future projects.
The latter half of the day consisted of a much-anticipated tour of the largest enrichment plant, following the enrichment process throughout the plant.
The tour was a fantastic opportunity for networking and getting site context for our new starter. Our thanks extend to the YGN and everyone on the Urenco site for their time and effort in organising and facilitating the event.
Cerberus Nuclear would also like to thank Urenco for providing the image for our post.
Mental Health First Aid Training
Emily, Sam and Tom recently attended a Mental Health First Aid in the Workplace training course, delivered by St John Ambulance. The course was based at St John Ambulance in Liverpool, and it covered how to create an awareness of mental health in the workplace, how to spot the signs and symptoms of different mental health conditions, and how to respond to a mental health crisis amongst other things. The course was delivered by Netty, who kept the group engaged throughout and created a relaxed and open environment.
The two-day course included putting the training to the test in practical exercises. The group was split into different roles, with one person being a person requiring first aid, and the other being the first aider. The exercises were intended to give the trainees an opportunity to put their new skills to the test in a real environment, with scenarios ranging from someone who has taken on too much work and is worried they can’t cope, to someone who is experiencing a mental health crisis in the workplace.
Finally the team sat two exams. We are delighted that all three Cerberus team members passed their Level 2 and Level 3 exams, and are now qualified mental health first aiders. We would like to thank St John Ambulance and the amazing Netty for delivering a great course!
Since attending, Emily, Sam and Tom have been planning how to improve the mental health awareness at Cerberus Nuclear, including writing a mental health policy, as well as planning improvements to the Business Management System.
Cerberus Nuclear Host Work Experience Placements
This summer, Cerberus Nuclear has been hosting work experience placements. One of our placement students, Henry, is interested in doing a business degree at university. As part of his experience, Henry has written a blog post about his time with the company:
Over the last year I have been studying business at A-level and the time has come to choose my university options. I am thinking of continuing Business through either Business Management or Business Marketing at University. Work experience is something which I needed in order to prepare and understand where a business degree could take me. Work experience at Cerberus Nuclear has definitely given me a very broad insight into the roles and responsibilities I could be taking on after university and how a company manages and makes use of its business model and system.
I spent 3 days working in the office at Cerberus and had a chance to speak to the employees, see and try out some of the software used by the company, take part in meetings and also help out by completing certain tasks. Talking to different employees was very interesting as they specialise in different roles for the company. I was also present in many meetings, and this was a great opportunity to understand how the team works together, using their different skills to run the company and how they handle various challenges that may arise.
Everyone at Cerberus was really nice helpful and if I ever had any queries they were always happy to help. Dan and Sam demonstrated the software they use for radiation simulations such as Cyclone, OpenMC and MCNP which was really interesting. Katrina and Tom let me experience the CARTA Virtual Reality criticality simulation, which was fantastic and great fun. I had some fantastic training for the business aspect of the company from Emily who was really helpful and also set me up with many tasks and meetings throughout the 3 days which was incredibly useful.
Thank you to everybody at Cerberus Nuclear for giving me an eye-opening and interesting work experience!
We also hosted Freddie, who initially learnt how to use CAD software, and following that used Orthrus Software's CycloneTM to build MCNP models.
We would like to thank Henry and Freddie for approaching the company for their work experience, and we wish them all the best for their A-Levels and future careers!
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.