The conference was held online and focused around ‘Implementing Digital Innovation in a Nuclear Environment’.

We caught up with Mark to get a round-up of the event.

Bringing nuclear professionals from across the nuclear lifecycle together with digital experts and technology providers, the Conference, which was held virtually this year, discussed the latest insights on the practical application of cutting-edge digital technology and techniques in support of decommissioning, operations, new-build and research in a highly regulated environment.

The Conference provided both practical advice and inspiration to enable delegates to improve digital utilisation and adoption now and in their future operations wherever they sit across the nuclear lifecycle.

Mark was invited to speak on two panels:

Panel Session 1 – Applying Digital Twin and learning from other Sectors

Mark was invited as a ‘non-nuclear sector representative’ to discuss Digital Twins and the many lifecycle considerations which organisations face.

Panel Chair: Neil Thompson, Director, Digital Construction at Atkins

  • John Norton, Head of Technical Strategy, Magnox Ltd
  • Ionel Nistor, Head of Nuclear R&D, EDF Energy UK
  • Nigel Hart, Head of Digital, UK SMR Programme, Rolls-Royce
  • Mark Greatrix, Director, Head of Digital & Technologies, Waldeck Consulting

Panel Session 2 – Digital Solutions addressing COVID-19

Mark was invited to discuss cross-sector challenges which COVID-19 has presented, and the various Digital themes which have been utilised to retain both safety and productivity.

Panel Chair: Diane Daw, Nuclear Business Development Manager, Altran

  • Sam Stephens, Chief Engineer, Atkins
  • Mark Greatrix, Director, Head of Digital and Technologies,
  • Kurt Metcalfe, Lead Consultant, BIM and Digital Engineering, Cavendish Nuclear
  • Neil Picthall, Enterprise Asset Management Programme Manager, Sellafield Ltd

Following the Conference, Mark has shared with us his top three themes of the Conference:

1. Digital Solutions which have been more commonly adopted during the COVID-19 pandemic

It was clear from conversations and presentation themes on the day, that whilst COVID had clearly impacted the industry, a plethora of tools have been utilised to mitigate the severity of the impact.

Digital capture and surveying tools were widely discussed and had been utilised to limit site visits, enabling the client and project teams to navigate the sites and their work areas remotely, enhancing project collaboration and coordination. The same tools had also been utilised to facilitate pedestrian flow modelling and analysis activities to support the 2m rule.

2. Digital Twins

With examples of the progression of Digital Twin aspirations outside of the Nuclear industry heard over the sessions, the presentations also delved into Digital Twins for Nuclear.

Two distinct threads of conversation are becoming increasingly apparent within the Nuclear industry; where Digital Twins are being explored for both new build projects and for projects which are entering their decommissioning phase. Although common themes are present in both directions, the new build twins will progress from design models and ultimately real time data to support their lifecycle, the decommissioning twins will focus more on the retrospective capture and modelling of that data to inform decommissioning activities as they progress.

3. Digital Culture

This theme which has been discussed and touched upon at several Nuclear Industry events, however never more so than during the impact of the COVID pandemic.

It was clear from conversations and presentations during that the day that COVID had forced a step change in thinking, one which had forced a change to normal operating practices. Like other industries, the adoption of digital tools which supported remote working and collaboration had very much come to the fore.

Even with the restrictions of sensitive and secure information to accommodate, the teams and industry have shifted to enable works to continue to be undertaken in-line with requirements. This was very much hailed as a huge positive of the pandemic, whereby having no other option, had forced a change for the better and several steps forward to embedding a digital culture and mindset.

To find out more about how Mark and his team can support your business with the implementation of digital technology and techniques for decommissioning, operations, new-build and research please get in touch with him by calling 08450 990285 or sending him an email here.