The nuclear industry includes some of the largest and most complex infrastructure programmes in the UK today, in both construction of new facilities and decommissioning of old.
The application of Systems Engineering in the UK nuclear industry is in its infancy, but it is rapidly gathering momentum as sponsors including DECC, NDA and Sellafield Ltd understand the benefits that a systematic approach can deliver.
Particular areas where Systems Engineering can deliver benefits to the nuclear industry include:
Rationalising numerous bespoke, discipline-specific, specialist processes and methods into a single coordinated way of working (e.g. incorporating input from Nuclear and Radiological Safety, Human Factors, TRAM, Testing and Commissioning, Pre-Ops etc. into the requirements and V&V process).
Consistent and coordinated capture of requirements from all sources and stakeholders;
Managing compliance against standards and regulations;
Management of systems integration and interfaces;
Scoping and aligning testing and commissioning with requirements;
Shift away from silo working mentality.
Aligned with established gated lifecycle, design assurance and design review processes.
The nuclear industry is at risk of losing vast amounts of technical knowledge in the coming years as the nuclear engineering population ages (Sellafield Sites Capability Plan), Systems Engineering will help to ensure that this knowledge is retained, reused and readily accessible.
A Systems Engineering approach has helped other industries to deliver projects ‘right first time’ with cost and time savings, we are supporting the nuclear industry realise these same benefits.