News Archive


Central England Branch Annual Dinner 2016: Review

Central England Branch held its Annual Dinner at the Oxford Spires Four Pillars Hotel on Thursday, 13 October. Over 180 guests attended, making it the most successful annual dinner event that the branch has held to date. The Dinner was hosted by former branch Chairman, Dr Kevin Langley, who was standing in for the current Chairman Dr Mehdi Askarieh. Mehdi was unfortunately unable to attend the dinner due to an overseas commitment.

In welcoming guests, Kevin noted that “it has been a very eventful year for the nuclear industry, not least because of the on-off-on roller-coaster ride of the Hinkley Point C project. The contracts with EdF and its Chinese partner now seem to be in place. Taken together with progress on Horizon’s Wylfa Newydd project in North Wales and NuGen’s Moorside project in West Cumbria, we can say that the long-awaited renaissance of the UK’s nuclear industry has finally arrived. Perhaps this is reflected in the record number of guests tonight, representing a large segment of the nuclear supply chain in the UK”.

The top table guests at the dinner were

  • Mr Alastair Laird, Interim Chief Executive Officer of the Nuclear Institute.
  • Professor Ian Chapman, CEO of the UKAEA Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE).
  • Mr Tom Greatrex, Chief Executive Officer of the Nuclear Industry Association (NIA).
  • Ms Alys Gardner, the Chair of the Nuclear Institute Young Generation Network (YGN).
  • Mr David Martin, Group Manager at UKAEA CCFE.
  • Mr Haydn Clulow, Assurance Director of the AWE at Aldermaston.


 After dinner and the various obligatory toasts to The Queen, the Nuclear Industry Association and the Nuclear Institute, Alys Gardner gave a short talk on the role and activities of the Young Generation Network. As well as being Chair of YGN, Alys is a consultant with Abbott Risk Consulting Ltd. The YGN is an ever-expanding group of younger nuclear professionals and enthusiasts. It provides a platform for education, training, knowledge transfer, sharing of best practice, technology development and career development. This is achieved through professional seminars, networking events, industrial tours, etc. Members of the Nuclear Institute who are 37-years-old or under automatically join the YGN. The YGN has been in existence for 20 years and currently consists of over 660 members.

 The main after-dinner speaker was Tom Greatrex. Tom was appointed CEO of the NIA in February 2016. Formerly MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West, Tom was shadow energy minister from 2011 – 2015 and the Opposition’s lead spokesman on nuclear energy, electricity market reform, smart grid and metering, carbon capture and storage, interconnection and both onshore and offshore oil and gas. Tom gave an amusing account for some of his experiences as an MP and his observations and reflections on the profound changes that have taken place in the nuclear sector based on his own personal experience of the industry.

As usual, there was a charity raffle which raised nearly £2400. This year’s chosen charities were MacMillian Nurses, Oxford Children's Hospital and Fund for Children, and Sue Ryder Nettlebed Hospice.

 This dinner, like all other regional Nuclear Institute dinners, relies on support from client and supply chain organisations. Kevin expressed the thanks of the committee to all our table hosts. Their support provides much needed funds to enable the Nuclear Institute to fulfil its objectives at Branch level. Special thanks were accorded to BiLFINGER, our Major Sponsor, to AREVA for being the pre-dinner Drinks Sponsor of this event and to EMCOR UK for sponsoring the dinner menu. Thanks also went to Branch Chairman Dr Mehdi Askarieh, Branch Secretary David Nixon and to the Nuclear Institute staff, in particular Alison Hunt at the NI Central Office, who had invested considerable amount of effort in organising this event.


Figure 1. Dinner Host Dr Kevin Langley welcomes guests to the Annual Dinner


Figure 2. Guests enjoying the CEB Annual Dinner 2016