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!

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!

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.  

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.

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 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.

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.