The nuclear industry faces many challenges both on an international and national level. Maintaining electricity production and delivering new capacity is critical to many countries in moving to a net carbon neutral power supply. In addition, one of the key issues facing the industry worldwide is the management of the legacy in terms of decommissioning redundant nuclear facilities and effective management of radioactive waste. Here there are common problems facing many countries, such as long term disposal of used nuclear fuel, but with specific national perspectives. Bringing best international experience and practice and putting it into effect in a national context requires a particular organisational and personal mindset. In this article we outline how Nuvia works in this context by developing a local presence backed by its international organisation.

Nuvia is an international nuclear engineering, project management and service provider focussed on the nuclear industry having its roots in the industries in France and the UK.  It provides these services to commercial clients, government bodies and international agencies, which is made possible due to a worldwide network of resources, including Europe’s largest health physics team. The Nuvia Group also benefits from being part of Soletanche Freyssinet, a world leader in specialised civil and geotechnical engineering, and a wholly owned subsidiary of VINCI, the world’s largest integrated concessions and construction group which augments the international reach of the company.

While this type of organisational structure provides a basis for providing services on an international scale it is the delivery of solutions appropriate to national conditions that is crucial. Highlighted here are some solutions Nuvia has provided to meet specific project requirements by bringing to bear its distinctive international approach with local presence and expertise.

Nuvia has a long history of providing the full range of health physics services in many countries including supporting reactor outages in UK, France, Sweden, Canada, and Slovenia, adapting our core competencies to meet the local regulatory and facility requirements. This capability was highlighted with the recent award of a contract by Bruce Power in Canada to Nuvia as part of the Component Replacement (MCR) project, Canada’s largest infrastructure project involving the upgrading of 6 Candu reactors stretching out to 2033. With eight operating reactors Bruce Power is the world's largest nuclear power generating station. Bruce Power awarded Nuvia the contract to manage radiation protection services for the initial programme.

To deliver the required resources Nuvia has established a training and project support office in Tiverton, less than 10 minutes to the Bruce Power site. The comprehensive training program covers theoretical courses as well as oversight of a structured experience package in the field that must be delivered promptly to ensure qualified resources are available as needed for the MCR. To date over 100 trainees have entered the programme and been trained to different capacities within the radiation protection organization. Such a large influx of less experienced resources puts strains on mentorship in the field. Specific local requirements include meeting what is known as the Chestnut Park Accord which gives several different unions a shared working jurisdiction over the radiation protection work. Nuvia has put in place specific union agreements which enables careful resource balancing when drawing from multiple union halls.

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In India, the national nuclear power plant operator NPCIL (Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited) faced a construction issue at one of its new builds regarding the water treatment plant. KAPS 3&4 are two indigenously designed Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors (PHWR) of 700MW each under construction near Surat in Gujarat state. The requirement was for the completion of the balance of works on the filtration plant and demineralised water supply after the original contractor ran into financial difficulties.  In 2018 Nuvia India was awarded the contract for these works, taking the 70% completed plant through to final commissioning. By using Nuvia India’s project and supplier management skills couple with technical support from Nuvia UK the plant was put back on-track and installation completed. On the 27th June 2020 the first stream of water was supplied at a ceremony attended by officials of NPCIL and the Indian Atomic Energy Commission marking an important step in the construction of the two reactors.

Reducing hazards is always a high priority on nuclear sites, especially those older sites undergoing decommissioning. At Sellafield, in the UK, Nuvia demonstrated the value of having a wider perspective than just traditional nuclear industry to resolve the need to demolish a chimney in the most congested part of the site. This entailed taking a pioneering technology applied to demolishing London’s iconic Battersea Power Station chimney and applying it to the FGRP (First Generation Reprocessing Plant) stack, a self climbing platform.  It took ten months for the platform to inch its way to the peak to enable demolition work to start. It began its 61-metre ascent in November 2016 and arrived nine months later in August 2017. Demolition work started in October 2017. Every time the platform needed to move down, it took an entire day to loosen, readjust, and then reattach the 84 pads that kept it in place.

The demolition activities had to be done by hand because of the proximity to hazardous nuclear buildings on the Sellafield site. Instead of using explosives or big machinery, the NUVIA team had to cut away the concrete and steel stack using only hand tools. They did it while standing on the NUVIA designed, self-climbing platform which clung to the chimney using friction alone! All that now remains of the 61-metre high FGRP stack is a nine-metre stub.

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In the Ukraine Nuvia Cz has been supporting the safety and operational upgrade programmes of Energoatom, in particular at the South Ukraine Nuclear Power Plant (SUNP) During 2020 Factory Acceptance Tests (FAT) took place of equipment for the reactor building and turbine hall normal operation safety systems. NUVIA is the leader of the consortium with a local Ukrainian partner for this project and it was funded by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) as part of a comprehensive program to increase nuclear safety of NPPs in Ukraine.

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Meanwhile in Bulgaria a Nuvia consortium of international and local companies is providing ongoing assistance the State Enterprise Radioactive Waste (SERAW) in the decommissioning and waste management of Units 1 to 4 at the Kozloduy Nuclear Power Plant. Since 2013, Nuvia personnel have been supporting D-R PMU in managing the programme for the decommissioning of Kozloduy NPP Units 1-4 and the construction of the National Disposal Facility in Bulgaria. The programme is funded by the Kozloduy International Decommissioning Support Fund (KIDSF), administered by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). Recent significant achievements have included the commissioning of a Plasma Melting Facility, and a Size Reduction and Decontamination Facility.

Linking decommissioning capabilities across the Nuvia Group has seen the deployment of teams via our local companies in Italy and Sweden to support decommissioning projects there.

Bringing together the wide experience both of the organisations and individuals has enabled Nuvia to be able to work truly internationally but always with the intention of developing locally capability to meet local needs. Recent extensions of the Nuvia family has included Nuvia Belgium while developing  a network of offices in other areas including China, Korea, and the Middle East.