Alys Gardner, Cavendish Nuclear’s Business Development Manager, discusses the importance of innovation in the nuclear sector and the urgent need for industry to collaborate, to drive and secure a sustainable, low carbon future.
Introducing Alys Gardner who joined Cavendish Nuclear in 2018 as Business Development Manager for our Sellafield, Low Level Waste Repository (LLWR) and National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) accounts. With over 10 years’ experience in the nuclear sector Alys has a first class masters degree in Physics with Business Management from the University of Manchester. Alys developed her early career as a safety case consultant across a number of civil and defence projects as well as getting heavily involved in the Nuclear Institute’s Young Generation Network (YGN). In September 2019, Alys was appointed to the Nuclear Industry Council as a representative for YGN/Changing Workforce.
At Cavendish Nuclear she has now developed an appreciation of the breadth of capability that we have as a business.
Alys said :
“The range of products and services that we have as a business was not apparent to me before joining Cavendish Nuclear and I see it as part of my job to help change this. The capability varies from mechanical and electrical design, radiometric equipment design and deployment, manufacturing, laboratory analysis, reverse engineering and consultancy. And this isn’t even taking into account the wider Babcock Group!”
Innovation remains high on the industry’s agenda for change and Cavendish Nuclear is committed to delivering the full spectrum of innovation; from robotics and R&D (for example through the In-Cell Decommissioning system) to the approach taken for reactor dismantling using conventional demolition techniques. Ensuring that a fit for purpose solution is provided is key; this has been learnt through the Parent Body Organisation at Magnox and the progress made there.
Alys noted that ;
“Innovation is not just about technical innovation – it could be in commercial models, HR processes, business improvements in the way we work or in the attraction and development of talent. Cavendish has recently successfully trialled the STEM returners initiative which is a fantastic programme.”
“Innovation also relies on collaboration and diversity of thought and Cavendish are passionate about developing their supply chain and supporting SMEs. We’d love to explore ways of working together with companies who have new ideas and a passion for making a difference”.
Operating in Business Development, Alys always has an eye on future opportunities and is an advocate of using cross industry knowledge to improve the solutions for our end customer and has developed relationships with other parts of the Babcock Group to facilitate this. The recent joining of Cavendish Nuclear and Babcock Naval Nuclear will allow traditional silos to be broken down and learning to be readily shared.
‘These are challenging times for our industry, particularly with the decisions around the new build programme at Moorside and Wylfa. We need to constantly challenge how we can deliver nuclear services safer, faster and lower cost. To achieve the (legally binding!) targets of net carbon reduction to zero by 2050 in the UK we need to be promoting our sector with firm economic and technical evidence and opening it up to remove the barriers that prevent flow of expertise from other sectors. Considering how we can realise the full benefits of digitalisation and the value of data will be critical in this. I really believe that nuclear has a major role to play in the 2050 targets but we need to actively earn our place in that energy mix.’
‘With existing generating stations coming offline within the next 10 years, we need to continue to demonstrate responsibility and progress in decommissioning as part of the case for new build. Being able to work together as a sector, deliver a step change and capitalise on the Nuclear Sector Deal (with the support of government) is key. There is a short window of opportunity for us to act as an industry to secure our future.’
‘Although challenging, these are exciting times to forge a future which will ensure that the lights are kept on in a low carbon way!’