Veolia Nuclear Solutions wins the 2019 Queen’s Award for Enterprise

The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise is the most prestigious awards for UK business, designed to recognise and encourage outstanding achievements in the fields of Innovation, International Trade, Sustainable Development and Promoting Opportunity. The Queen’s Awards scheme was instituted by Royal Warrant in 1965 and the first Awards were made in 1966. This year, 201 UK businesses have been recognised for their contribution to international trade, innovation, sustainable development and promoting opportunity.  
There are four categories:
  • International Trade
  • Innovation
  • Sustainable Development
  • Promoting Opportunity
The International Trade category is dedicated to companies that have demonstrated that their business has achieved substantial growth in overseas earnings and commercial success through either outstanding achievement over 3 years or continuous achievement over 6 years. Veolia Nuclear Solutions UK wins this award this year after securing new contracts and overseas sales have grown by 469% and the percentage exported has also risen from 27% to 84% within the last three years.  
Veolia Nuclear Soltuions UK is now working on two major overseas projects. The company has supporting ITER Fusion project, currently being built in France with remote handling expertise for a number of years. The complex and international nature of this and many of the projects in which the company has been involved has created an organisation that is truly international in its outlook. More recently, the company has started working in close collaboration with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in Japan on the design and construction of a unique, remotely controlled, boom-type robotic arm system to investigate the nature and location of nuclear fuel debris in the Unit 2 Reactor at the disabled Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. The proposed solution, combining knowledge and experience gained through its work in the nuclear fusion sector and demanding environments in the UK at Dounreay and Sellafield, is being delivered in four phases: outline design, detailed design, manufacture and finally assembly and test. Similar technology approaches are being developed to look at sampling and ultimate retrieval of fuel debris from what is seen as the most challenging decommissioning project in the world.   Since technology and science at this level cross national boundaries, the geographic location of projects and the multinational nature of customers and working teams is no barrier to our participation, as is amply demonstrated by the fact that, in addition to work in the UK, France and Japan, we have relationships with organisations located in Belgium, Canada, Spain, Italy, Finland, Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands.   Sales Director Mark Sharpe, commented,  
“We are very proud to have received The Queen’s Award for Enterprise this year, it recognises the hard work, skill and dedication of every single person in the VNS team, without whose efforts we would not have been able to achieve this outstanding success.”  

VNS project ahead of schedule after successfully deployed its MAETP system at Dungeness A

Magnox Limited is the management and operations contractor responsible for safely defuelling and decommissioning 12 nuclear sites and one hydroelectric plant in the UK working for the sites’ owner, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA). The Dungeness A site is one of them. MAETP, a Veolia Nuclear Solutions’ technology, uses multiple innovative water treatment solutions to remove the radioactive substances from the effluent water before it is discharged to the sea. The experience and technical capabilities housed under the Veolia’s Nuclear Solutions’ umbrella have enabled the company to develop a unique modular design that allows the equipment for treatment systems to be pre-fabricated and tested offsite, reducing the cost and the amount of on-site assembly required. Since the beginning of the project, Veolia Nuclear Solutions has been working in close collaboration with the Ponds Decommissioning team at the Magnox Chapelcross site in order to carry out the MAETP design. This technology provides a generic solution that will be rolled out at three other Magnox sites (Hinkley, Chapelcross and Oldbury) over the next year. The MAETP Units were manufactured and tested off-site, before being installed at Dungeness A in November 2018 in collaboration between the Ponds Program teams from the Chapelcross and Dungeness sites. Veolia Nuclear Solutions is now progressing with the remaining MAETP units, with the second plant currently being manufactured. Due to the successful installation at Dungeness A, the implementation phase of the Magnox contract for the remaining three units is now planned for a phased accelerated completion by late 2019, some 12 months ahead of original plan. Once again, Veolia Nuclear Solutions has used its best in class solutions to deliver a safe, simple, and modular system that can be easily scaled to meet the specified requirements across the identified sites while utilizing commercially available and proven technology.

New year, new job

You are invited to come along to our open days at our Assembly Integration Testing (AIT) Facility in Abingdon, where you will be able to meet colleagues, see projects in various stages of progress and learn about what we do and where your skills would fit in.
    In support of continued strong growth we seek to enhance our core teams including but not limited to:
  • Project Managers
  • Project Engineers
  • Systems Engineers
  • Electrical Design Engineers
  • Control Systems and Software Engineers
  • Graduates and Apprentices
We look forward to welcoming you.

Veolia Nuclear Solutions UK Success at NDA Supply Chain Awards

Veolia Nuclear Solutions UK (VNS-UK) won the prestigious 2017 NDA Export Award for the design of the remote handling solution for the investigation work as part of the fuel debris retrieval at Fukushima Daiichi, Unit 2.

The work being delivered by the UK subsidiary company, Oxford Technologies, in conjunction with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), is for the investigation of the internals of the stricken reactor, and the development of a robotic access device with a range of tools, all based on the proven approach of the company’s heritage in fusion at JET, and current work in NDA decommissioning projects at Sellafield and Dounreay.

A table-top model of VNS-UK’s Dounreay Site Intervention Platform, brought down from Dounreay specially for the exhibition, attracted considerable interest at the company’s stand in the Innovation Zone.

NDA event at EventCity in Manchester.
NDA event at EventCity in Manchester.

The award was presented by DIT Director of Energy and UK infrastructure, Keir Campbell, with Ron Gorham, NDA’s Head of Supply Chain Optimisation to Mark Sharpe VNS-UK, Sales Director.

Expanding Veolia Nuclear Solutions Hires More Graduate Engineers

Recently hired engineers at VNS-UK
Recently hired engineers at VNS-UK

As part of its expansion strategy, Veolia Nuclear Solutions (VNS-UK), which now incorporates remote handling solutions consultancy Oxford Technologies, has hired no less than ten highly skilled engineering graduates in the last 12 months – and will soon start the search for the 2018 intake.

VNS-UK currently employs over 70 staff at its Abingdon HQ, which delivered the world’s first remote handling equipment to operate inside a nuclear fusion reactor, and is now actively involved throughout the nuclear clean-up process, from initial site investigation, through radioactive materials processing and stabilisation, to nuclear facility decommissioning and waste management, training and operations.

VNS-UK MD, David Loughborough, comments:

“The success of our business depends on employing the best engineering talent to solve some of the biggest environmental challenges the world faces – so we are delighted to welcome these new recruits to our team.”

OTL Tackles Scientific Challenges at ITER

A team of engineers at Oxford Technologies is tackling one of the many engineering challenges involved in transforming the science of fusion energy into engineering reality at ITER: in this case developing a compliant wrench that can be remotely operated to tighten and loosen the bolts which hold the blanket modules which shield the walls of the tokamak.

The 440 blanket modules cover an area of 800m2 and are a critical part of the design as they cover the inner walls of the vessel, protecting the structure from the heat flux generated by the plasma.

Each of the modules, which are typically over a metre square and weigh several tonnes, consists of a detachable first wall panel, facing the hot plasma, and a shield block which forms the structure of the module as well as housing the cooling water channels.

Furthermore, due to the complexity of the geometry, the alignments of the holding bolts will vary on each panel and the wrench must therefore be able to cope with misalignment in vertical and lateral planes as well as angular misalignment.

As Stephen Sanders, Access Global Marketing & Business Development Director, explains; “One of the greatest advantages that OTL offers is our ability to pull together multi-disciplinary teams to enable the development of creative, new solutions to completely new problems.”