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A project sprint with Sellafield


Dan Cunningham has been an Eadon engineer for three years and, during June, was contracted through Sellafield’s Engineering Centre of Excellence (ECoE) to team up with five Sellafield staff as part of a focused problem-solving team. The team was made up of a range of experience and specialisms – a way of providing a diverse and forward-thinking group with the skills to look at the problem from all angles whilst the individuals benefit from the experience of their teammates.

The challenge was based around the Thorp Receipt and Storage (TR&S) tank on site at Sellafield, which is scheduled for decontamination and reinstatement, but which had an issue with a blockage that they needed to find a long-term resolution for; the six-week sprint focused on identifying the contents and waste route for the tank. Once the project team had a full understanding of the specific issues, they underwent an ideation process to scope out the problem. Viable solutions were then identified before engaging stakeholders from each of the three areas identified as key contributors; this enabled them to spread awareness of the issues and to gain an understanding of similar situations that may have arisen previously, and the typical approach used at Sellafield. Further data gathering was then initiated, with the practical elements of exploration work including a long-reach 360-degree camera inspection, a survey of pipework to assess entry routes into the vessel, and the development of a radiometrics survey schedule.

A multi-resourced team such as this one, where different parts of the supply chain come together to solve a problem, provides everyone involved with a unique perspective on the approach, the challenges and the opportunities as seen by each tier within the supply chain. Dan, with the support of Eadon’s Director Jim Hill, was able to provide the team with Eadon’s broad range of experience in working on nuclear challenges as well as their unique and innovative approach to problem-solving.

Dan’s feedback on the overall experience was nothing but positive; not only did it enable him to gain confidence as an engineer, but also provided the opportunity to work with a new and unique team to solve a real-world problem. Through the training facilitators, Training Harrison Network, new ideas and project management methodologies were explored, and Dan was given the opportunity to coach the Team Lead, a graduate engineer. In turn, Dan brought back to Eadon the concept of working in sprints on specific project elements in order to benefit from a focused effort from a broader team.

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