Cerberus Nuclear Shielding Assessors attend FLUKA.CERN Course

Our Radiation Shielding Consultants Sam, Zac, and John recently attended the FLUKA.CERN course at INTA, the National Institute for Aerospace Technologies in Madrid.  

Over the course of the week, they developed their knowledge of FLUKA, studying the basic concepts such as geometry and material definitions, as well as sources and scoring to provide a solid understanding of the code. They also studied advanced topics such as neutronics, radioprotection, and activation.  

Zac's Example of the Death Star in FLUKA.

Cerberus Nuclear’s access to the FLUKA code has bolstered our radiation shielding and nuclear characterisation resources. It will allow us to consolidate our capability in a broad range of high energy physics disciplines such as accelerator and beam line design, as well as particle physics, aerospace, and medical applications. 

Cerberus Nuclear would like to thank CERN for hosting the course and INTA for their role in the local organisation of the course. Sam, Zac, and John also had the opportunity to visit various INTA facilities during the course, which we are excited to tell you about over the next few weeks! 

Cerberus Nuclear attends Early Career Criticality Safety Network launch

Haleema, Tu, and Andrew recently represented Cerberus Nuclear on a two-day event for the launch of the Early Career Criticality Safety Network (ECSN), which included two site visits to the Low Level Waste Repository (LLWR) and Sellafield

The first day began with a presentation on the history of LLWR, as well as its place and future in the modern nuclear industry. This was then followed by a tour of the site, guiding us through the waste repository system. 

The tour was followed in the afternoon by the launch event for ECSN, beginning with a talk on criticality safety delivered by an expert from Sellafield. This was followed by presentations from the ECSN committee members on the current goals for the ECSN, ranging from a dedicated webpage under the Working Party on Criticality (WPC) and social media accounts, to outreach to schools and universities to develop outside awareness of criticality. This was then broken up into smaller discussions across the room, which was an excellent opportunity for networking and meeting new people also early in their careers. 

The second day comprised of a tour of the Sellafield site, including a more in depth look at the THORP building, and the process that would have taken place during reprocessing. 

Our thanks extend to the ECSN & WPC for organising this launch event and implementing the idea of an early careers network. We would also like to extend thanks to the members of Sellafield, NWS, and LLWR that organised for us to go on two excellent site tours as part of the launch event.

Cerberus Nuclear to Expand Expertise with FLUKA.CERN

Cerberus Nuclear is on a continuous path of improvement, and we are thrilled to announce our participation in the upcoming FLUKA.CERN course at the INTA, the National Institute for Aerospatial Technologies in Madrid, hosted by CERN. Participating in the course is a testament to our commitment to stay at the forefront of advancements in high-energy physics.

Delving into FLUKA: A Comprehensive Tool

FLUKA is a highly regarded high-energy physics Monte Carlo code used for the simulation of high energy particles. The history of FLUKA traces back to the 1960s at CERN, evolving through several iterations to become the robust high energy physics modelling tool it is today. The application range of FLUKA is broad, encompassing areas such as accelerator design, beam line design, particle physics, and medical applications. This versatility underscores FLUKA's use in advancing research in the field of radiation physics.

Cerberus Nuclear's Forward Step with FLUKA

Our radiation shielding team's engagement in the FLUKA.CERN course underscores our dedication to enhancing our capabilities in specialised areas. It’s about more than just acquiring new skills; it’s about enriching our team's knowledge base and fostering a culture of continuous learning.

A Vision for the Future

As we look forward to participating in the course, our team is keen on the prospect of integrating this advanced knowledge into our workflow. We believe that staying up to date with the latest advancements in our field is crucial for our growth and success. As such, we’re eager for our clients and partners to benefit from our knowledge from this course. By enhancing our technical capabilities with this educational endeavour, we are reinforcing our position as a leader in our industry, committed to delivering cutting-edge solutions.

Our Radiation Shielding Consultants Sam, Zac and John will be attending the course next week in Madrid. We invite you to keep a look out for updates to see how they get on!

Zac and Katrina Present PTNR Industrial Lecture

Cerberus Nuclear recently delivered an industrial lecture for the Physics and Technology of Nuclear Reactors masters course at the University of Birmingham. Haleema, Katrina, and Zac prepared the presentation which was then presented to the students by Katrina and Zac.  

The lecture began with an introduction to Cerberus Nuclear including our specialisms in radiation shielding, criticality safety, and nuclear characterisation. 

Katrina took a deeper look into criticality safety, highlighting a day in the life and how criticality safety is used within the nuclear industry, as well as discussing more technical topics such as the factors affecting criticality. The students were very interested in CARTA, a criticality training tool developed by Cerberus Nuclear that utilises VR. 

Zac detailed the company's radiation shielding work, talking about the shielding design process and how Monte Carlo techniques are used for shielding assessments. The shielding verification procedure as well as dynamic visualisation techniques were presented before rounding off the lecture highlighting our nuclear characterisation work and discussing our software developments through Orthrus Software.  

We would like to thank Paul Norman for inviting the team to present again this year!

New Starter: Daniel Rutland

We are excited to announce the latest addition to our Criticality Safety and Radiation Shielding Team, Daniel Rutland. Daniel has over three years’ experience in the nuclear industry, and one as a criticality safety assessor. As part of his experience, he has performed criticality sensitivity analyses of fissile waste packages for transportation in MONK, ensuring subcriticality and compliance with nuclear transport safety regulations.

Daniel joined the company last Monday following a couple of weeks walking the Camino de Santiago in Spain. We are delighted he has decided to join the team at Cerberus Nuclear!

Cerberus Nuclear Invest in Resilience Training for Employees

At Cerberus Nuclear we are committed to the wellbeing of our employees. Over the last year we have trained mental health first aiders, supported two of our employees at the CALM Design School and focussed on social and wellbeing activities such as knitting, climbing, roller disco and sunflower growing. The next step in this process was a Resilience Training Day, given by the amazing Bernie from St John Ambulance.

Eleven members of the team attended the training day, where Bernie took us through the 5 pillars of resilience. The training room was a safe space for people to share their feelings and opinions. We would like to thank everyone who attended for their openness on the day, which helped drive conversation, group learning and understanding.

The group worked together to come up with ideas that individuals could then include in their personal action plans. Actions included tasks like meal planning for healthier eating, no phones in bed, thinking about what went well each day, and exercising more, either alone or with friends and family.

Thanks to St John Ambulance, we all have additional tools at our disposal to help foster a resilient workplace culture and improve the wellbeing of the team.

Note: The featured image is from The Wellbeing Project.

Cerberus Nuclear Present at NTEC Radiation Shielding Module

Our Shielding Consultants, John Billingsley and Nick Seibt, recently delivered the Shielding Design Process lecture for this year’s NTEC Radiation Shielding module.

The shielding design process is the industry best practice solution to ensure that the a robust shielding design for facilities with radioactive sources. The process is an iterative one, with new information as the design progresses feeding back into key documents to find the most effective shielding design.

The lecture was well received, with students giving positive feedback on the day. Nick completed the course last year while he was studying for his masters, so he was glad to have the opportunity to represent the company at the lecture that introduced him to us! John and Nick both stayed for the afternoon too to help support the students with some practical work.

Thanks go to Professor Andrew Boston and the NTEC course for inviting us back again this year!

Cerberus Nuclear attend GREEN-NEF CDT Winter School Careers Event

Sarah, Haleema and Sam were pleased to attend the GREEN-NEF Centres for Doctoral Training (CDT) careers event, held earlier this month in York at the CDTs annual Winter School. The Winter School is opportunity for all the PhD students on the CDTs to catch up and share presentations and posters about their research.

A highlight of the Winter School is the Careers Event, which this year was sponsored by AWE and attendees included Cerberus Nuclear, alongside other nuclear industry companies such as Nuclear Waste Services, Frazer-Nash, UKAEA, AtkinsRéalis, Mott Macdonald and Sellafield Limited.

The event opened with two-minute introductions from each company, discussing their graduate intake opportunities, company diversity and benefits packages. Sarah delivered the introduction for Cerberus Nuclear, highlighting the company ethos as a small consultancy and the range of clients we provide shielding and criticality capability for.

Everyone then moved on to the main event: networking. The Cerberus Nuclear stall proved very popular, with our representatives chatting non-stop to many interested students, as well as handing out complimentary Haribo. We’re looking forward to following up with many of those interested in our company and recruitment opportunities over the next year.

Our thanks extend to AWE for sponsoring the event and to Mark Clegg of Manchester University for organising the Winter School.

EMI Scheme Anniversary Update

The end of 2023 marked the anniversary of the Cerberus Nuclear EMI scheme, which is a government approved way of rewarding employees with share options. We are delighted that all of the members of the scheme have now exercised their options and have become shareholders of the company!

2024 will be the last year of the current scheme, which has rewarded employees that have been with the company since 2020. We are looking forward to the next round of awarding share options, starting in 2025.

"I'm very happy to be a shareholder in Cerberus Nuclear. I think it's an innovative way to encourage employees to invest in the future of the company. It's great to work for a company that is forward thinking about long-term rewards to employees for their contributions to growing the business." – Toby Tyas, Criticality Technical Lead

Cerberus currently have openings for experienced criticality and shielding specialists to join the team. See the Careers page for more details. 

Cerberus Nuclear's Commitment to Environmental Initiatives

In an era where environmental responsibility is a high priority across the world, Cerberus Nuclear is committed to incorporating sustainable practices into its operations. The nuclear industry will play its part in the transition away from fossil fuels, but at Cerberus Nuclear we have acknowledged that we can do more.  

In May, we announced that we are members of Ecologi to offset our carbon emissions arising from business travel, and the benefits in place to encourage employees to reduce their emissions. In this article, we provide an update, detailing the charities and initiatives we are currently supporting, and lay down our plans for the future. 

Mitigating Carbon Emissions from Business Travel

At the heart of Cerberus Nuclear's current environmental strategy is a robust methodology for calculating carbon emissions for travel. This process begins with the Environmental Impact Travel Log, a tool that captures detailed data on business journey undertaken by our team. 

Data Collection: The Travel Log records the mode of transportation, distance travelled, and purpose of each trip. Whether it's a local site visit by car or an international meeting by airplane. This data is crucial in creating a comprehensive picture of our travel-related carbon footprint. 

Calculating Emissions: For each mode of transport, we apply specific emission factors to calculate the total CO2 emissions. These factors are derived from provided references and estimate emissions from different methods of transport i.e. petrol/diesel cars are calculated differently from electric cars or trains, ensuring more accuracy in our assessment. 

 Car (Petrol/Diesel) [1]Car (Electric) [2] Airplane [3] Train [4] Motorbike [5] 
g CO2/km 122.10 40.00 101.00 44.43 130.50 
g CO2/mile 196.50 64.37 162.54 71.50 210.02 
Emissions for different modes of Transport.

Offsetting with Ecologi: The key element of our environmental strategy at Cerberus Nuclear is tree planting. By analysing the data from our Travel Log, we calculate the number of trees required to offset our travel emissions. This calculation is based on the understanding that, on average, a tree absorbs about 25 kg of CO2 each year

It's important to acknowledge that this figure of 25 kg of CO2 per year is an average, derived from a range of estimates that vary from 10 kg to 40 kg annually. This variation is expected, as different tree species sequester varying amounts of carbon. We have chosen the middle ground of 25 kg of CO2 per year as a balanced estimate, our primary goal being to contribute positively to the planet by simply planting more trees. 

Each tree we support in planting is expected to continue absorbing carbon throughout its lifetime, which often spans several decades. Therefore, when we plant a tree to with the aim to offset emissions from a specific journey, we're aiming to do more than just counterbalance the carbon emitted during that trip. These trees will consistently absorb CO2 over their entire lifespan, making a lasting impact. 

We believe this method of tree planting is a very effective way to manage the carbon emissions from our travel activities. Ecologi's openness in sharing financial information, climate impact data, and governance details gives us confidence that our contributions towards tree planting are not only impactful but also part of a broader, trustworthy effort to combat climate change. 

You can view our impact through Ecologi here.

Supporting Local Initiatives

In addition to offsetting our carbon emissions with Ecologi, Cerberus Nuclear has made a donation to the Cheshire Wildlife Trust. We understand that the impact of society is not just carbon emissions, but also nature. A majority of our employees are based in the Cheshire Wildlife Trust’s operational area, and by supporting them, we are helping to protect the local area for our employees and their families.

The money donated has gone towards the trusts campaign to raise £200,000 pounds to buy and rewild a new 100-acre nature reserve in Cheshire. The company has bought 11 3 m × 3 m squares of land for rewilding, one for every two members of staff. The image on the right is from the Cheshire Wildlife Trust website, detailing how they are contributing to nature recovery.

Reducing our Carbon Footprint

We are aware that the best solution for the environment is to reduce carbon emissions. Cerberus Nuclear has a number of employee benefits with this goal in mind: 

Next Steps

We believe that we should all do as much as we can to protect our planet. As a young SME, we can build our environmental strategy now so that it grows with us. Cerberus Nuclear will continue to develop how it reduces its impact on the planet. We have future aspirations to include emissions from other areas of the business, including emails, cloud storage and virtual meetings. We will continue to offset our recorded carbon emissions, fund local projects, and encourage a reduction in company emissions.