A new approach to project delivery at Sellafield

24 May 2022

Almost three years into its 20-year life, the Programme and Project Partners model used at Sellafield is beginning to achieve firsts for the nuclear industry.

DELIVERING MAJOR PROJECTS IS ESSENTIAL to achieve Sellafield’s aim of creating a clean and safe environment for future generations.

In delivering these large-scale infrastructure projects, the Programme and Project Partnership (PPP) is creating new partnerships and new opportunities for the supply chain, economy and communities.

PPP has been brought together to deliver all Sellafield’s major infrastructure over a 20-year period. The strength of its structure lies in its common purpose and its shared goals and incentives.

It is a 20-year partnership between the four supply chain partners and Sellafield. It is designed to be collaborative, innovative and responsive to change, and to create an enduring capability for the delivery of major projects. It is based on Project 13 principles of creating an ‘Enterprise’: an integrated organisation that is aligned and commercially incentivised to deliver better outcomes.

PPP comprises KBR (integration partner), Jacobs (design and engineering partner), Morgan Sindall Infrastructure (civils construction management partner), Doosan Babcock Ltd (process construction management partner) and Sellafield Ltd.

Together they support the site’s 100-year decommissioning programme and the transformation of Sellafield Ltd.

The story so far

The Programme and Project Partnership is more than a framework to deliver major projects. It is a commercial and behavioural model that ensures collaborative working, as one team, is the only option.

PPP is fundamentally changing the way projects are delivered at Sellafield. Its success hinges on all colleagues, partners and supply chain playing a part in making project delivery successful.

Last year (2021) was a big year for PPP, as many projects began visible change. These major projects will ensure Sellafield can safely empty ponds and silos, treat the waste and store it safely.

The model is now fully operational and working collaboratively as ‘one team’, to unlock the broader ambitions of the model.

PPP ensures the government knows what each project is, how it will be delivered, what it will cost and how delivery performance will be measured. This certainty about how much programmes will cost creates predictability and stability, and frees up resources and money for use elsewhere.

The first major project baseline has been set and subsequently the full business case won approval, demonstrating increasing government and stakeholder confidence in the PPP model.

The PPP is already being recognised as an exemplar: the UK’s highly-regarded Infrastructure Projects Authority cited it as a prime example of how to deliver projects.

Duncan Elliot, PPP Representative says: “It’s an exciting time and there’s a great deal of enthusiasm among the team about where the Partnership is heading. Our people and projects with purpose are demonstrating that the PPP Way can bring major benefits to project delivery, working together to solve complex nuclear challenges to leave a lasting legacy for sustainable and successful communities.”

Project highlights

One project that has recently received approval of its final business case from the UK government is the SIXEP Continuity Plant (SCP) project.

The approval was granted three months earlier than expected. This is great news for the project because it is now funded for its full life cycle and work on it can continue at pace.

When completed SCP will be a vital facility on the site.

It will ensure the continued availability of the site’s ion exchange effluent plant. SIXEP removes activity in effluents from the first generation Magnox storage pond and the Magnox swarf storage facility, so the output can be safely discharged to sea.

The Sellafield Retreatment Plant (SRP), another project being delivered through PPP, also received early approval for its full business case last year. Projects director Andy Sharples says “Not only is this great news for the SCP project...Through PPP we are able to share good practice across our projects. Successes like this show how this is happening.”

The multi-project procurement model

PPP is helping to transform procurement and supply chain development. It has launched a so-called ‘multi- project project procurement’ (MPP) approach that will provide increased value for the UK taxpayer and improved predictability. It will enable better planning, resilience and sustainability from suppliers working across multiple major projects. The group began by introducing an industry leading ‘early contractor involvement’ (ECI) strategy at the outset of key projects. The MPP model then selects key delivery partners, using framework agreements to deliver multiple projects. So far, 12 MPPs have been developed, four frameworks have been awarded and 86 suppliers have been appointed across the projects, 45% of which are small and medium sized enterprises and 40% of which are based locally.

“The PPP approach is supporting faster, more effective project delivery, stability in design and construction supply chains, greater workforce flexibility, and local economic benefit,” says Peter Hogg, head of supply chain at PPP.

“Working alongside our supply chain to deliver our 20-year programme of major nuclear decommissioning projects we will create a lasting and sustainable legacy. With billions of pounds of projects identified to pass through the partners, a collaborative, joined-up approach to sustainability, inclusive of social impact, economic and environmental agendas are essential to enable our success.

“We’ve recently announced six KDPs and one GSA Framework which includes seven companies, three of which are based locally in Cumbria. We’ve even seen two local SMEs form a joint venture which will create more opportunities for people in the local community.”

New supplier spotlights

HVAC framework

PPP has appointed Balfour Beatty Kilpatrick and EJ Parker Technical Services to deliver the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC), a framework agreement worth £150-250 million over the life of the programme. The HVAC package was procured under the MPP model.

Further key delivery partners will deliver work packages covering everything from building fit out, groundworks and general civils to steelwork and cladding. At this stage they will provide manufacturing capability and organisational resilience, but in future projects these organisations will be engaged in the design stage to help underpin project estimates.

E&I Framework

In its largest framework to date, PPP has appointed NG Bailey Ltd and Balfour Beatty Kilpatrick Ltd to deliver the electrical & instrumentation (E&I) work, an agreement worth £485-600 million over the life of the programme.

M&P Framework

Meanwhile PPP has appointed Balfour Beatty Kilpatrick and Doosan Babcock to deliver the Mechanical and Pipework requirement, through a framework agreement worth £112 - £237m, over the life of the programme. The Mechanical and Pipework package is the third Key Delivery Partner framework to be awarded by PPP as part of this major programme spanning the next 18 years.

Goods/Services Agreement

NIS Ltd, Hyde Group, Ansaldo Nuclear, James Fisher Nuclear, Carr’s Group, West Cumberland Engineering and NWEC Alliance have been selected to deliver fabricated and manufactured equipment packages for the projects, in a framework agreement for an initial three years, worth up to £20 million.

The package was the first goods and services agreement (GSA) to be awarded. Equipment to be provided include process cabinets, cast Items, bogies and rail systems.

Of the seven GSA Framework suppliers, three are from Cumbria, the county where Sellafield is situated. McMenon Engineering Services, based in local town Workington, and TIS Cumbria, formed an unincorporated Joint Venture — The North West Energy Coast Alliance — to win their place in the supply chain.

“The PPP has given our business the opportunity to be part of Sellafield’s decommissioning and to deliver fabricated and manufactured equipment packages for PPP’s groundbreaking major projects,” says Anand Purtham, chief executive officer at McMenon Engineering Service Ltd.

“We are delighted with the news and excited at the prospect of becoming one of the main Cumbrian SME suppliers to the nuclear industry.

“McMenon’s Workington facility has a 75-year engineering and manufacturing heritage with exports to over 50 countries.

“When we acquired the business from a global corporation in 2018, we promised our Cumbrian workforce that our future growth would include diversification into nuclear and renewable sectors.

“Now being included as a delivery partner in the PPP framework is a major step in fulfilling that promise to our people.”

SMEs and social Impact

PPP works closely with Solomons Europe, using the UK’s SME Matchmaker Service, which provides a service to engage with, profile and identify small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) that can support key delivery partners and contribute to the PPP Critical Success Factors.

As well as developing opportunities for SMEs and local businesses PPP is committed to delivering social impact in the form of:

  • Long term employment opportunities to people in West Cumbria. The companies working within the PPP Framework will be encouraged to establish offices, facilities and wider business operations within the area.
  • Supporting local businesses via subcontracts, reciprocal business opportunities, training, mentoring and capacity building.
  • Offering targeted work placements providing career development opportunities to people in the local community who have previously struggled to find sustained, quality employment and inspiring young people to build on their aspirations by providing insight into the opportunities within PPP and wider businesses. There is a particular focus on those with the greatest need from local schools, colleges and other educational centres.
  • Coordinating volunteering to deliver the greatest impact. PPP and its supply chain make available volunteering time targeted towards key PPP Social Impact initiatives. These hours are coordinated via the PPP Timebank.

What’s next: Transformation

The Programme and Project Partnership’s executive board members have endorsed five key transformation workstreams designed to move PPP’s work to exemplar performance.

The workstreams will help unlock more benefits from a programme-wide approach to the delivery of PPP projects at Sellafield. The aim is to enhance processes, management and collaboration, accelerate an innovative digital data environment, create, nurture and develop high performing teams and address the skills requirement for the next two decades. These next steps will help achieve the ambitious goals which are shared between PPP, Sellafield and West Cumbria.

The PPP vision is to create a clean and safe environment for future generations, while opening vibrant opportunities for supply chain, economy and communities The PPP vision is to create a clean and safe environment for future generations, while opening vibrant opportunities for supply chain, economy and communities
Working on site Working on site
Tower cranes at the SIXEP Continuity Plant (SCP) Tower cranes at the SIXEP Continuity Plant (SCP)
Steelworks at the Sellafield Retreatment Plant (SRP) Steelworks at the Sellafield Retreatment Plant (SRP)
E&I work being carried out on a PPP project at Sellafield E&I work being carried out on a PPP project at Sellafield

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