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!

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 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.

Sarah attends MCNP course at Los Alamos

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)

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

Sarah O’Sullivan recently represented Cerberus Nuclear on a tour of the Urenco Capenhurst site which was organised by the Nuclear Institute Young Generation Network as part of their technical tour series. 

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.