National Nuclear Laboratory


Sunday 25 May 2014

A New Era Begins

17th April 2007

As one era concludes, another one begins. At the end of March, Nexia Solutions departed from a long-established base on the Sellafield site and relocated a key sector of its operations to the new British Technology Centre.

Over 40 years ago, nuclear research and development began in multi-purpose laboratories on the Sellafield site. At the end of March 2007, Nexia Solutions reloacted a key sector of its operations from this base to the brand new British Technology Centre (BTC). The BTC will be at the hub of the new National Nuclear Laboratory for the UK. Over the four decades of operation, research and development in this long established facility contributed significantly to the development of most major plants and facilities on the Sellafield site. These include flagship operations such as those carried out in the Thermal Oxide Reprocessing Plant (THORP). Nexia Solutions operated in the facility under a lease arrangement which came to a close in March. Some of the laboratories in the building will now enter post operational clean out. Those facilities formerly used by Nexia Solutions will be refurbished for re-use. The movement of equipment between the laboratory and BTC proved challenging and required detailed safety arrangements and careful management. Close collaborative working between Nexia Solutions and British Nuclear Group Sellafield was critical to the success of a project that was ultimately delivered to time and cost. Looking forward, Nexia Solutions is carrying out installation and commissioning of the transferred equipment into the BTC over the next couple of months. This operation is being carried out with a focus on minimum impact on services to customers. Managed by Nexia Solutions, the BTC is the flagship nuclear research and development facility in the UK and provides a wide range of technology activities, including support to reactor operation, fuel processing and decommissioning and clean up programmes. It is available to run analytical services and radioactive and non radioactive experimental programmes. Like many of his colleagues, Nexia Solutions Chief Technology Officer Graham Fairhall began his career in the Sellafield laboratories. He said: “The laboratories have been an essential part of the nuclear industry and have underpinned vital R&D at Sellafield for a very long time. I have fond memories of my time working in there. “We are moving into a new era in the BTC. The new facility has been operating for some time now and presents us with an ongoing opportunity to improve technology services for the UK and customers. The creation of the National Nuclear Laboratory, with the BTC as the focal point, will support Nexia Solutions in developing the UK’s R&D capability and safeguard technology skills.”