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.

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 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.

Cerberus Nuclear attend ANSWERS Seminar

Cerberus Nuclear recently had the privilege of attending the 57th Meeting of The Shielding Forum and the 103rd Working Party on Criticality (WPC) meeting during the annual ANSWERS seminar held in Bournemouth. Over the course of three days, professionals from the nuclear sector gathered to discuss key topics such as radiation shielding, reactor physics, and nuclear criticality, as well as recent developments and applications of ANSWERS software.

A few members of the Cerberus Nuclear criticality team also had the opportunity to attend the criticality day of the ANSWERS seminar. The forums were a gathering of industry experts from a range of different companies and licenced sites, all sharing an interest of growth and innovation within industry.

We would like to extend a massive thank you to the team at Jacobs for hosting the conference in sunny and beautiful Bournemouth, and the Hilton for its fantastic facilities. The team left feeling excited for the challenges ahead and a renewed sense of motivation for our in-house innovation work. Here’s to many more inspiring conferences and memorable times!

The WPC is a formal sub-group of the Safety Directors Forum, with a focus on criticality safety issues, promoting co-operation nationally and internationally. Cerberus was delighted to attend the semi-annual WPC meeting, which is an invaluable platform to learn from industry experts while gaining insights into the latest advancements. There were engaging group discussions on key issues facing UK criticality and exciting potential solutions. Some members delivered fantastic presentations speaking about new advancements and future possibilities in the criticality sphere.

It was great to see Katrina Christaki in a key role as the WPC secretary, and we look forward to Cerberus Nuclear’s continued active participation in the group and sub-groups. A big thank you to the dedicated WPC Chair Fred Winstanley for ensuring a thought provoking and productive event.

The Shielding Forum plays a major role in the event schedule, aiming to promote industry good practice and provide authoritative advice on all matters related to radiation shielding. As long-time supporters of TSF, Cerberus Nuclear were delighted to participate and benefit from the expertise shared by industry leaders. The presentations covered a wide range of topics, including the shielding design basis, fusion, and technical discussions on the latest analysis codes used in industry.

With continued support, TSF promotes the training and development of radiation shielding practitioners to ensure that the UK is, and continues to be, a centre of excellence for radiation protection. Thank you to Anton Murfin, the chair of TSF, for organising an engaging and informative meeting. We look forward to maintaining our involvement with TSF in the future.

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 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.   

Sellafield Ltd Supply Chain Forum Special for International Women's Day

Our criticality safety assessors Katrina and Haleema represented Cerberus at the Sellafield Supply Chain Event in March. The event was a women’s special, falling just after international women's day, and was only attended by women in the supply chain and at Sellafield Ltd.

It was so great to hear from different SMEs and all the great projects currently going on. It was especially great hearing from the next generation coming up through the Sellafield apprentice schemes. We wish them all the success in their next chapters! Another fantastic presentation was from the Jacobs women’s network, and we look forward to hearing and collaborating more in the future.

- Haleema H, Criticality Safety Consultant

At the forum, companies are given the opportunity to give a 60 s pitch. Katrina Christaki took the challenge and pitched Cerberus Nuclear to the other attendees at the forum!

Cerberus looks forward to continuing collaboration with Sellafield and to attending the next supply chain forum. 

Nottingham Trent University Presentation

Cerberus Nuclear is excited to have delivered a technical and industry focused presentation to the Physics with Nuclear Technology students at NTU. Building on the student’s knowledge of radiation transport they were introduced to Monte Carlo calculations in the context of shielding assessments. The presentation was well received with thought provoking questions being raised by the students.  

After the presentation the students also got to learn about Criticality safety through our CARTA VR experience. As NTU alumni Nathan and Sam got the chance to provide an insight into their career paths and introduce the students to the world of Nuclear Consultancy.  

We would like to thank Dr Edward Breeds and Dr Nick Evans for welcoming us back to campus and facilitating our presentation.