Cerberus Nuclear joins University of Birmingham Nuclear Masters Steering Committee

Cerberus Nuclear are excited to join the steering committee for the Physics and Technology of Nuclear Reactors (PTNR) MSc and Nuclear Decommissioning and Waste Management (NDAWM) MSc at the University of Birmingham. The department was the home of the first nuclear reactor in Britain and has been running the PTNR MSc since 1956. The university more recently added the NDAWM MSc, and continually updates the degrees to reflect the increasing sophistication of the field and the requirements of the industry.

A steering committee meeting was held yesterday (19th June), and Katrina Christaki and Daniel Rutland were delighted to take part! The meeting was attended by a number of industry leaders. The purpose of the steering committee was to discuss key issues, including the course content, opportunities for students, and the continual need from across the nuclear industry for skills taught on both courses, such as criticality and shielding.

Cerberus Nuclear has enjoyed a successful relationship with the university, taking on students for summer placements and in graduate roles in previous years. We look forward to becoming more involved with the courses as part of the steering committee.

We would like to thank Paul Norman for inviting us to be involved in the steering committee, and for organising an interesting and thought provoking day!

TSF & WPC: Cerberus Nuclear Presents at Specialist Forums

Cerberus Nuclear was honoured to participate once again in The Shielding Forum (TSF) and Working Party on Criticality (WPC) meetings at the ANSWERS Seminar in Bournemouth. Over the course of three days, professionals from across the nuclear sector gathered to exchange ideas and present work on crucial topics in radiation shielding and criticality safety.

At TSF, John Billingsley presented recent development work undertaken into the precise and accurate modelling of criticality sources for a variety of applications, highlighting Cerberus Nuclear’s commitment to continuous improvement and knowledge sharing within the industry. This work also showcased Cerberus Nuclear’s new state-of-the-art Monte Carlo transport code – Tempest, by benchmarking results against multiple nuclear codes commonly used across industry.

Additionally, Daniel Cork had the opportunity to present further developments of Cyclone, developed by Orthrus Software. He introduced an AI assistant called Cyclone Sage designed to assist users in the creation of MCNP input files – a potentially ground breaking application in the field of radiation shielding and criticality.

At the WPC meeting, there were interesting group discussions on some of the key issues and potential solutions facing UK criticality today, as well as updates on subgroup developments and future possibilities and changes in the industry. The team from Cerberus Nuclear were active participants in the meeting, with Stewart Hay presenting on the changes to criticality dose assumptions, and Toby Tyas giving an update on subgroup activities. Katrina Christaki also continued her key role as the WPC secretary. We would like to thank the new WPC Chair Liam Payne for ensuring a thought provoking and productive event. 

Members of the Cerberus Nuclear criticality team also attended the Early Careers Criticality Safety Network (ECSN) speed mentoring event after the WPC meeting, as both mentors and mentees. This offered an invaluable chance for some 1-on-1 discussions about criticality safety with a range of experts in the field, as well as a chance to network and get to know members from other organisations. We would like to thank the ECSN for organising this event, as well as the members of the WPC who agreed to attend and be mentors. 

Finally, we would like to thank the team at Jacobs for hosting the conference, and we look forward to contributing further in the future.

Cerberus Nuclear attend SRP Conference

Recently, Hannah, Sam and Haleema had the pleasure of attending the 2024 Society for Radiological Protection (SRP) Conference in Eastbourne. It was especially significant as this was Cerberus Nuclear’s first year attending as an SRP Affiliated Organisation.

The conference itself was a hub of knowledge, innovation and learning, with many great presentations, posters and stands. Particular presentation standouts included James Cairns from Aurora Health Physics Services with “Not my CuP of Tea? A radiological insight into the first 48 hours of the Litvinenko Murder Investigation”, and Amjad Khursheed from the ONR with “Importance of Age and Sex in Prospective Analysis of Off-Site Radiological Consequences following an Accident at a UK Nuclear Site”.

Our Shielding Lead Hannah had the important role of judging awards for posters and oral presentations, while Senior Shielding Consultant Sam, delivered a fantastic affiliated organisations presentation about Cerberus Nuclear, and Criticality Consultant Haleema, who is also a member of the SRP Magazine Editorial Team, connected with SRP members and interviewed for an upcoming SRP magazine article.  

We look forward to implementing the knowledge gained and building on the connections made. A massive thank you to the SRP organisers for another fantastic SRP conference and we very much look forward to seeing everyone again next year!

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.

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!

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.