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Member journey - Richard Peake

Richard Peake – Security Inspector, Office for Nuclear Regulation

Richard was born in London and holds a Master’s Degree in European history from the University of East Anglia and a Certificate in Terrorism Studies from St Andrew University.

 “I’m not sure that anyone sets out with a clear career path to become a Security Inspector, it is the direction in which, over time, my career has developed.  Gaining professional membership with the NI has provided independent recognition of my role as an established nuclear professional!”

 Prior to joining the nuclear sector Richard previously worked for BT, planning network capacity and investigated disputed bills; for HM Customs and Excise as part of their National Investigation Service aiming to prosecute tax fraud, excise and drug smuggling; and the Department for Transport in transport security regulation.

 For a time, Richard was the UK’s only accredited EU national maritime expert and participated in an EU mission to Romania. Richard is a member of the Security Institute and is a Certified Security Management Professional.

 He joined the Health and Safety Executive the week before the nuclear sector left, and took up his role in the UK’s newest regulator, the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR). Initially assigned to the EDF operating reactors work area, as well as ONR’s technical training courses Richard was able to participate in EDF training at an early stage in his new role.

 He has been involved as a Project Inspector during the transition from the previous, prescriptive security regime, to the world’s first outcome based nuclear security regime.

ONR uses the Security Assessment Principles (SyAPs), together with supporting Technical Assessment Guides (TAGs), to guide regulatory judgements and recommendations when undertaking assessments of duty holders’ security submissions. Further details on the Security Assessment principles (SyAPs) can be found at ONR’s website  

 This regulatory philosophy is aligned with ONR’s mature, non-prescriptive nuclear safety regime and provides dutyholders with a coherent regulatory approach across the UK civil nuclear industry.

 SyAPs is not the only area of development within Civil Nuclear Security as ONR is busy establishing a UK Safeguards regime following the UK’s vote on BREXIT and the decision to leave the Euratom treaty.

 In his current role, Richard has worked with the IAEA to develop training for inspectors in the inspection of physical protection systems and has also participated in a physical protection advisory service visit to Hungary.

How did you find the NI application process?

The application process of the Nuclear Institute is straightforward. I became an NI Associate member in January 2018.

ONR, as the UK regulator for licensed nuclear facilities, holds Corporate Membership of the Nuclear Institute. The ONR co-ordinator arranged a meeting for prospective members at Cheltenham which I participated in and was able to meet an NI assessor.

As a Security Inspector, I was concerned that I would not meet the criteria for full membership. From discussing my knowledge and learning I had undertaken through ONR and EDF, the assessor convinced me I could meet the necessary membership criteria. To be fair, once I sat down to complete the Nuclear Delta® and demonstrate other evidence I was sure I could meet the required standard.

Why did you want to be a Member?

I wanted to prove to some of my safety colleagues and members of the industry I regulate that, despite coming from a non-technical background, I could reach the required standard.

I am always keen to expand my knowledge about the industry I am regulating.

It is recognition by the nuclear sector’s professional body and is evidence that if you want to achieve something then, in the words of a famous advert, ‘just do it’.

What's your message to others thinking about doing the same?

I believe all nuclear practitioners should join the Nuclear Institute.
You don’t have to be from a scientific background to join the institute. They also welcome non-technical background individuals!

The nuclear sector is an exciting area to work in, with plenty of opportunities to be at the cutting edge of your work sphere, whether through technology or innovative regulatory approach.
I would be happy to assist any colleagues from a non-technical background join and gain professional recognition through the Nuclear Institute.

 To find out more about becoming a professional member click here