The Nuclear Institute NW Branch 69th Annual Dinner

The 70th NI North West Branch Annual Dinner will take place in May 2017 in Manchester. Further details to be released soon.

The Nuclear Institute North West Branch 69th Annual Dinner Report

Over 500 people from more than 40 nuclear establishments attended the 69th Annual Dinner of the NI NW Branch which was held at The Point, Lancashire County Cricket Club, Manchester on Thursday 19th May, 2016. The Guest-of-Honour was Gwen Parry-Jones OBE, and the Celebrity Speaker was the noted comedian Milton Jones.

The NW Branch Chair and Top Table host, Monica Mwanje welcomed attendees and commenced proceedings by introducing the Top Table. The top table guests were: NI President, Neil Thompson; Guest-of-Honour Gwen Parry-Jones OBE; Tom Samson, the CEO of NuGen the Platinum Sponsor of the Dinner; Dame Sue Ion; Mark Foy, representing ONR; Peter Lutwyche, representing NDA; and John Warden, the NI CEO.

In a revised format for 2016, Monica Mwanje informed the assembly that this year the speeches would precede the dinner, and accordingly invited Tom Samson, as the Platinum Sponsor, to speak.

Tom Sansom then proceeded to outline the NuGen strategy for their move to a prestigious new Manchester HQ, the expansion of their workforce towards the development of nuclear power, particularly in relation to their Moorside site and their commitment towards encouraging their workers to get involved with the Nuclear Institute, particularly those qualified to be YGN members.  [The full introduction transcript is reproduced at the end of this report]

The Guest-of-Honour, Gwen Parry-Jones was next to address the gathering. Gwen remarked that she was very honoured to have been invited to be the Guest-of-Honour. Gwen’s address touched on how wonderful it is to see that the Northern Powerhouse is a priority for government, particularly the investment and activity in the nuclear sector. Gwen also welcomed the increasingly diverse nuclear workforce, commenting that businesses will be stronger as a result of this. She concluded her address by proposing a toast “To the Nuclear Institute”. [The full speech transcript is reproduced at the end of this report]

Neil Thompson, the NI President, responded on behalf of ‘The Nuclear Institute’ by thanking Gwen Parry-Jones for her words of support and congratulated her on being a fantastic role model for women in nuclear. He concluded by encouraging attendees to network and enjoy their meals. [The full speech transcript is reproduced at the end of this report]

Following the meal awards were then presented to prize-winning graduates from the Nuclear Technology Education Consortium (NTEC) MSc in Nuclear Science and Technology for the Academic Year 2014/15 and winners of the YGN’s NW Region Speaking Competition, which had been organised by Melissa Loyley (NW branch and YGN). The R.V. Moore Prize provided by the Nuclear Institute for the top full-time student on the taught elements of the MSc programme was awarded to Daniel Donnelly. The Prize provided by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority for the top part-time student on the taught elements of the MSc programme was awarded to Jeremy Dunford. The Nuclear Institute Masters Distinguished performance Prize was awarded to Lauren Dackombe. The Winner of the YGN NW Branch Speaking Competition was Nathan Edge of Rolls-Royce Ltd., with the second place going to Jacob Graham of Cammell Laird Ltd., and the third place to George Daval of TUV SUD.

The Awards were concluded with the President presenting Ian Currie, who was bowing out after organising NW Branch Dinners for 30 years, with an NI inscribed pen and Certificate of Appreciation for all the work and support he had given to the NI (and its predecessors the Institution of Nuclear Engineers (INucE) and British Nuclear Energy Society (BNES)), and especially the NW Branch. [The full speech transcript is reproduced at the end of this report]

Monica Mwanje then introduced the ‘Celebrity Speaker’ Milton Jones (pictured right), who proceeded to amuse everyone with his unique style of funny one-liners which were greeted with much laughter.

The prize-winners for the charity tombola, with prizes generously donated by attending Companies and which raised over £3800 for the ‘Save-the-Children Fund’, were then announced to the delight of some and disappointment to many.

The event was finally brought to a close by Monica Mwanje thanking the organisers and staff at The Point for putting on such a good meal and everyone present for attending, wishing them a safe journey home.

The NI NW Branch would like to thank the following organisations for their sponsorship of the 2016 Annual Dinner:

Platinum Sponsor: NuGen

Gold Sponsors: Fluor, M+W Group and North West Projects

Silver Sponsors: Abbott Risk Consulting and NTEC

Milton Jones
Speeches delivered at the NI NW Branch 69th Annual Dinner on 19th May 2016.

The Opening Address by Tom Samson, CEO of NuGen:

Thanks to the NI for hosting one of the biggest nights in the UK nuclear industry calendar. Great to see so many familiar faces here in Manchester and our presence here tonight is testimony to the important role that the NI and the North West plays in the Nuclear Industry.

 Tom Samson

Thanks to NI Chairman Neil Thomson, CEO John Warden and NW Branch President Monica Mwanje.  Excellent relationship with the NI we are grateful for the work they do in promoting our industry, providing support to their members and -particularly for their work in encouraging Young Member participation.  We have encouraged our Young Member to get involved with the NI, learn about other aspects of our industry and ensure they are making the most of their career in this exciting industry.  Was also quite shocked to realize that I don't qualify as a Young Member any longer...

It is also quite exciting for NuGen to sponsor this evening event here in our home town of Manchester at the centre of gravity for the Northern Powerhouse.  In fact, many commentators have described Moorside as the “engine of the Northern Powerhouse."

We moved up here over 16 months ago to Piccadilly Place and as a result have been able to attract talent from across the region, tripling our workforce in that same period. Manchester is a great place to do business with a vibrant city atmosphere and great connectivity to Cumbria and London.

Our development efforts are continuing. We have launched our DCO Stage 2 in Cumbria last week, our GDA process is moving forward with ONR and Westinghouse and our capability is growing as we mature into a NSL holder. That development progress is focused on us moving forward with confidence to hit our FID by the end of 2018 and then onwards towards bringing these 3 reactors online through the mid 2020’s.

Our industry is at a cross roads. We have an aging fleet of existing generation reactors, a deep decommissioning legacy to contend with in Sellafield, an emerging excitement and interest in SMR’s and yet we are still confronted with the financing challenges of building a new fleet of Nuclear Base load reactors. Overcoming that financing challenge for nuclear new build is a crucial first step and then as an industry we need to rise to an even bigger challenge of delivering these new build projects on time and on budget.

The consensus view is that electricity markets are broken across Europe and the conditions for investment in new nuclear are impossible without market reform. Fortunately the UK Government are leading the way in implementing solutions to overcome that market barrier to nuclear new build with the CfD regime and are further improving the chances of Funding with access to Treasury Guarantee schemes.

At NuGen, we are focused heavily on solving that financing challenge with innovative solutions, bringing in Export Credit Agencies to share the funding burden and structuring EPC arrangements to build on successful implementation models for delivering nuclear new build capturing experiences and lessons learned from across the globe, in particular in areas where there is a track record of successful delivery of nuclear new build.

Why is it important to solve the nuclear new build challenge, well - two main reasons – firstly security of supply, by the end of 2030, we will be left with a single nuclear generating  reactor on the grid and likely all coal plant stations shutdown. That will leave a huge gap in our national base load capacity that needs to be filled.  We cannot fill that base load gap with renewables, and if we rely on CCGT, we need to ensure that the natural gas will be available and provided from reliable and secure supplies. The only credible way to fill that gap and to ensure our security of supply is with a new generation of nuclear new build reactors.

The other reason is quite simple - climate change. Nuclear power accounts for 11% of the worlds power production, but is contributes 40% of the world’s carbon abatement efforts.  If we are to make meaningful impacts on climate change, if we are to improve the quality of air on the planet and if we are generate real clean power 24/7 then we don't just need some new nuclear, we need a lot more, not just here in the UK but elsewhere.

NuGen are powering ahead with confidence that with our technology, our shareholders and our team here in Manchester and Cumbria have the creativity, energy and ambition to deliver on our vision to provide clean affordable reliable power.

We have an excellent evening lined up and was excited to see one of my favourite comics Milton Jones as our after dinner speaker – we are in for a treat I am sure.

Enjoy your evening, usually over a glass of wine at a function such as this we have the chance to put the world to rights and with Brexit coming up and a potential Donald Trump in the White House the conversation doesn't need to only focus on nuclear – or indeed when Hinkley will achieve FID.

Enjoy your evening!


Gwen Parry-Jones OBE Keynote Speech:

Good evening to you all, friends and colleagues, new and not so new!

I am advertised as your guest of honour, but the honour is in fact all mine! Who would have thought, 25 years ago, that a young physicist like me would be standing here in front of you today? The opportunities that I have had, have been, and continue to be fantastic - for that I am very grateful. I hope we continue to create those opportunities for young people to give them the chance to shine in the same way that I was given that chance.

I feel like I am visiting my home - I have a long association with Wales and the North West, not least as a Welsh woman, but also having started my career as a reactor physicist and then a reactor operator at Wylfa in Anglesey, and have worked at various times at the Heysham site in Lancashire as well as visits to the tremendous variety of nuclear related activities in the great communities all over Wales and the North West.

It is wonderful to see the Northern Powerhouse as a priority for government and to see the investment and activity in our sector. Never has there been the same opportunity to collaborate and work together for the greater good of the UK, and the Nuclear Institute continues to play a very important part in that. Our role in maintaining the UK’s journey for sustainable, affordable and secure energy has never been so important.

It is particularly relevant for me to be here today, to celebrate Women In Nuclear’s association with the Institute which I believe will make both organisations stronger. I would also like to take the opportunity today to congratulate Miranda Kirschel on her recent MBE for services to the nuclear industry. She is an inspiration to me and many others, and we are privileged to have her working towards the important subject of diversity in our workforces. Thank you Miranda and well done.

I guess the mention of diversity also prompts a comment about our location this evening where pioneering women cricketers have helped keep Lancashire on the map. The persistence of the club has led to Lancashire County Cricket Club being named as one of the six hosts in the inaugural Women’s Cricket Super League. This summer, 90 of the most talented female players from across the world will play for six teams, including our own Lancashire Thunder.

Gwen Parry-Jones

They have come quite a distance considering that when the first Women’s Cricket Association was established in 1926, women players were instructed that in return for access to the Hallowed Grounds such as these here in Lancashire, they had to display ‘dignity, circumspection, caution and submission to men’s opinion’ and they weren’t even allowed into the Pavilion until many years later.

Happily, times have changed, and diversity in our workforce is beginning to be highly valued, in this age where innovation is essential as a foundation for our future. I urge you to examine how you are creating and celebrating diverse skills in your workforce, as our businesses will be all the stronger for it.

So, with that, I will conclude. The Nuclear Institute is a pivotal part of connecting us all to enable the continued success of civil nuclear power in the whole of the UK, but particularly in Wales and the North West.

Please raise your glasses with me to toast the great work and people that make up the Nuclear Institute....

To the Nuclear Institute!

Thank you.


Presidential Response:

Gwen, on behalf of the Nuclear Institute may I thank you for your kind and supportive words. You are a fantastic role model for women in nuclear. May I also offer you the full support of the Institute as you continue to drive forward nuclear professionalism in the industry.

Now its time for more networking and good food and drink -please enjoy your meal. Thank you.


Presidential Citation for Ian Currie’s Certificate of Appreciation:

Ian, you might have thought that you would retire as the organiser of the North West Branch dinner without any fuss. However, after organising every North West Branch Dinner since 1986, without a break, that was never going to be possible!


Ian joined the nuclear Industry in 1960 at Harwell and was heavily involved through his time at NNC and predecessors with the design and construction of the then new AGR fleet; regarded at the time as a new dawn for the nuclear industry in the UK. I am sure many of the challenges and opportunities Ian and his colleagues faced then can be applied to our new age of new nuclear build.

Not only has Ian been at the centre of the NW Region Dinner organisation, but he has also been a member of the Nuclear Institute Editorial Committee and was recently a member of the Events Committee.

So, in recognition of Ian’s efforts and support to the North West Branch over the years we would like to present a special award to Ian.

Thank you, Ian.

John Warden presentation John Warden presentation
John Warden presentation John Warden presentation