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NewsBorates boost for VVER operatorsRomania calls in consultancyIn the forefront of thinking on safetyBeacon briefsNews from around the Amec Foster Wheeler networkAbout 40% of the waste from Russian-designed VVER reactors is made up of liquid borates containing the radioactive isotopes Co-60, Sr-90 and Cs-137.The new technology from Amec Foster Wheeler Slovakia is based on several diff erent ways of separating these dominant radionuclides from borates.In trials, more than 80% of the dissolved crystalline sediment waste has been Nuclear Agency and Radioactive Waste Romania has asked Amec Foster Wheeler to carry out various consultancy tasks as part of its work to create a surface repository.The repository is needed because Nuclearelectrica, the nuclear power operator in Romania, intends to refurbish one of the existing reactors at its Cernavoda power plant (pictured) in order to extend its life. converted into purifi ed permeate, which can be disposed of as non-radioactive waste.Pavol Stuller, Director Central and Eastern Europe, said: "This technology can be modifi ed to treat other types of liquid radioactive waste produced from NPPs. It represents a huge step forward in safety and cost for operators of VVER plants."The UK's Offi ce for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) announced last year that it would update its Safety Assessment Principles (SAPs), which provide internal guidance for ONR assessors reviewing safety submissions from nuclear site licensees. The ONR asked for comments, in particular on whether the new SAPs refl ected learning from Fukushima and developments in international safety standards and good practice since the last update in 2006.Amec Foster Wheeler submitted 92 comments, 64% of which resulted in changes to the updated SAPs. Professor Nawal Prinja, Technical Director, said: "This is a measure of the wide range of knowledge and experience we have in our organisation – overall, only a third of submissions from all parties were acted upon." Amec Foster Wheeler has devised a highly eff ective new technique for treating waste produced by a type of nuclear reactor commonly found in eastern Europe.4A computer-generated model of a borates treatment unit

Human interest at Sizewell BAmec Foster Wheeler's Human Factors team advised EDF Energy on the project to build a dry fuel store at the Sizewell B nuclear power plant, the fi rst such facility in the UK.Human factors, also known as ergonomics, played a major part in the safety case and were particularly relevant to fi ve licence conditions covering suitably qualifi ed personnel, training, commissioning, operating instructions, and control and supervision.The Knutsford-based team carried out human reliability assessments and task analysis, the results of which informed procedures and systems designed to reduce the risk of errors. "A thorough analysis of the human factors aspects of dry store operation was required to support the safety case to move into the commissioning phase for the new dry fuel store," said Roger Ecob, Manager, Region 1 Safety Case Branch, Design Authority, EDF Energy Generation. "Very close collaborative working between Amec Foster Wheeler and EDF Energy resulted in timely delivery of the required work, with an appropriate level of rigour."5Top marks from the instituteAmec Foster Wheeler has won a prestigious award for the way it trains and looks after its physicists.The Best Practice in Professional Development Award, presented by the Institute of Physics (IOP), recognises and celebrates employers who can demonstrate excellence in the way they train and develop staff and promote work-life balance. The IOP's judging panel cited several examples of good practice including a competency assurance scheme, head of profession roles, 'lunchtime learnings', allocation of mentors, and a system of ongoing appraisal.The award, which is valid for three years, was presented at the IOP's annual dinner.David Boath, Vice President for Project Delivery at Amec Foster Wheeler's Clean Energy Business, said: "Our physicists play an important role in maintaining our status as the UK's leading nuclear services company."Clean Energy praised as excellent employer of physicistsProfessor Roy Sambles, IOP President (left), presents the award to David Boath