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Feature DOUNREAY Smooth transition


Between preferred bidder status last November and DSRL ownership on 1st April, a major programme of work had to be undertaken to conduct a seamless handover from one PBO to another, with minimal impact on the DSRL team and continuity of work taking place on site. BDP Transition Manager Alastair MacDonald outlined for NuclearCONNECT how it was undertaken.


Cornerstones of the transition phase included the appointment and introduction of a new management team and stakeholder engagement, as well as the completion of ‘due diligence’ on the Dounreay Lifetime Plan.


BDP’s approach to transition was to manage it as a project in three discrete phases. The first covered the weeks to Christmas, with the setting up of the transition process, facilities and logistics, and initial meetings with local stakeholders, regulators, the community and businesses, plus site staff. Phase 2 (the first two months of 2012) was intensive, involving numerous meetings between BDP and DSRL staff, and investigation of each element of the DSRL Lifetime Plan and BDP proposal. The final phase (March 2012) focused on verification and due diligence sign-off and completion of detailed consolidation plans.


To implement the transition approach, a BDP Transition Team was drawn from those responsible for aspects of the BDP proposal who had worked together throughout the bid development, rather than staff coming together for the first time.


A three-phased approach is also being taken to manage the required organisational changes to DSRL: first, the appointment of staff with any replacements on a one-for-one basis to minimise immediate organisational change; second, the introduction of a suitably qualified and experienced senior management team; and third, focusing the organisation to become more project-orientated. All the proposed organisational changes are subject to the usual internal approvals and regulatory due process.


A training programme ensured that all staff were fully trained, skilled and prepared for their roles and the major challenges at Dounreay. Planned and effective communication with the incumbent workforce, stakeholders, regulators, trade unions and the NDA was


a critical aspect of successful transition, the principle being to ensure clear communication and minimise uncertainty, while listening to issues and concerns.


Fact gathering


Due diligence, a fundamental transition element, was undertaken both in the areas of administration and management and in technical areas. A considerable amount was achieved in the short transition time-scale, effectively a complete review of the Dounreay programme, including every project and most parts of the organisation, over a two-month period. This was achieved with a relatively small team (13 full-time staff, supplemented by 15 from within the BDP organisations to support specialist areas). Additionally, using the bid team to lead the transition was advantageous, as it had already undertaken data-gathering, customer dialogue, bid-writing, and ultimately delivery. Advance preparation also included early-stage basic security clearances, with upgraded security applied for on a case-by-case basis later. Identifying the successful features of this transition programme, the project serves to highlight experience and ‘lessons’ that can be drawn on for future projects.


Successful completion of the competition, including a smooth transition, represents a landmark occasion for the NDA and launches the opportunity to realise substantial savings on behalf of both Government and taxpayer.


Leadership credentials


The Dounreay Management Team is now headed by Roger Hardy, whose varied nuclear career includes MD of Babcock International Group’s Submarine Business, followed in 2010 by MD for Babcock’s Civil Nuclear Business, overseeing the integration of five civil nuclear businesses, undertaking the overall management of Dounreay, Harwell and Winfrith and major projects at Sellafield, and supporting the operational advanced gas-cooled reactors (AGRs) for EDF Energy.


Speaking to NuclearCONNECT as MD at Dounreay, Roger commented:


The existing lifetime plan is now being consolidated with the new PBO plan, aiming at a one-year project look ahead – then a three-year outlook is to be published on the website. A second supplier meeting and briefing is scheduled for December 2012. Details of the May meeting presentations with in-depth project plans are available via


www.dounreay.com/suppliers Words: Penny Lees


“Dounreay is the leading decommissioning site in the UK. The new management team seconded from Babcock, CH2M Hill and URS has prepared well for the task ahead. We have a team of subject matter experts from across the UK and USA, who are dedicated to achieving the first major site closure in the UK, meeting the highest standards of safety and environmental management, in an accelerated time-scale whilst delivering huge savings to the NDA and UK taxpayers.”


Communicating with the supply chain supporting decommissioning is a key activity. At the Supply Chain Briefing event held at Dounreay in May, Roger and his team gave representatives clear key messages on the way ahead for the site.


Goals and lifetime plan


BDP’s commitment to close Dounreay by 2022 for £1.6bn through a target cost with incentive fee contract will require:


• huge savings in time to complete on target


• innovative technology, including UK/Europe first application


• improved efficiency across site to reduce spend


• supply chain input on ways to achieve success


• accelerated decommissioning project work


Deliver safely. Deliver on time or early. Deliver best value!


NuclearCONNECT


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