Continued delivery of critical nuclear support services across UK sites

Cavendish Nuclear provides critical support to maintaining Nuclear Material Assay (NMA) equipment across the UK’s nuclear licensed sites.  This requirement hasn’t changed despite the Covid-19 pandemic and the team has adapted quickly to ensure continuity of this important service.

The NMA equipment service Cavendish Nuclear provides ensures that nuclear sites and customers can continue to operate safely and compliantly with the assurance that key radiometric systems required for their operations remain maintained, calibrated and supported, ensuring the secure management of nuclear materials.  The service covers all elements of the nuclear fuel cycle; from production of nuclear material, receipt of spent fuel, through reprocessing, product storage and waste management, in addition to supporting some critical site security and regulatory systems. 

For the Cavendish Nuclear NMA team, delivering a ‘business as usual’ service is defined as being able to respond to a customer’s request within less than two hours, returning a key instrument to service within eight hours and operating seven days a week from 0615hrs to 2245hrs.

In order to ensure continued service whilst; ensuring compliance with the new social distancing requirements, minimising travel and numbers at their Sellafield base at any one time and maintaining service coverage, the team had to quickly adapt their working arrangements to meet the current circumstances. 

This included the efficient implementation of the following changes:

  • Reduction in shift team, which means equivalent reduction in attendance by team on-site, helping social distancing.
  • ‘Released’ shift team resources still remain available on a new scheduled rota system to give reserve or escalation cover if required
  • Collaboration with our main customer to allow extended use of our existing office base, providing social distancing and enhanced cleaning regime
  • Established new methods for team communications including the ability to send ‘text’ messages to existing pagers / bleeps in addition to issuing single Emergency Team messages to group of supplied personal mobile numbers
  • Increased use of IT to allow scheduled meetings and briefs to continue but by conference/video call options

Adrian McClelland, NMA Services Group Manager said, “The swift, proactive response from the team and their willingness to adapt, along with collaboration with our customers, has ensured we can continue to provide this critical service. We are proud of the recognition and positive feedback we’ve received from our customers for our flexible approach to this new challenge we all face.”

There has also been strong collaboration with wider Cavendish Nuclear teams, including the Radiometric Protection Instruments (RPI) and Measurement and Test Equipment (MTE) Groups, to support each other’s areas as well as supplying resources to some client work, again helping to reduce numbers on site across all of our teams.