Rock Matrix Diffusion Research Undertaken by NSG and Partners Published in Scientific Reports Journal

A recent publication by authors from the University of Manchester, University of Leeds, British Geological Survey, Quintessa, NSG and Radioactive Waste Management (RWM) has shown for the first time that the mobility of potentially harmful contaminants in crystalline rocks over long periods of time may be severely limited due to the presence of tiny crystals, meaning contaminant movement is likely to be focused to water-bearing fractures only.

The study, published in the Nature journal Scientific Reports, analysed crystalline (granite) rock samples from underground systems in Japan and the UK and the results imply that in many cases the importance of ‘rock matrix diffusion’ may be minimal. These findings, which apply to long-lived systems, build on previous laboratory and field studies over short periods of time which also suggested that contaminant mobility in crystalline rocks will be limited to short distances in parts of the rock that are away from large fractures.

Dr Gráinne Carpenter, NSG’s Head of Consultancy Services and co-author of the paper, commented:

The findings of our research challenge commonly proposed models regarding the length scale and importance of rock matrix diffusion. For the nuclear industry, our findings help to develop understanding of the processes which may be drawn upon to underpin safety cases for geological disposal.

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NSG Wins RoSPA Sector Award

NSG Environmental Ltd is proud to announce it has been awarded the 2020 RoSPA Sector Award for Research and Development.

The accolade, given to NSG for ‘consistent excellence and continuously improving performance’, will be presented to the company at the 64th annual RoSPA Awards in Birmingham later this year. The award is NSG’s 18th consecutive RoSPA Award and third Sector Award in five years.

Mark Coles, Director of Projects South and responsible for health and safety at NSG, commented:

To win this prestigious award for the second consecutive year is testament to the dedication of all our staff who ensure that health and safety is paramount in all we do. I would like to thank them for their ongoing commitment to safe working and look forward to celebrating our achievement with the other winning companies later this year.

NSG to Supply Magnox ILW Retrieval Equipment

NSG Environmental Ltd has been awarded a contract by Magnox Ltd to design, manufacture, test, install and commission equipment to retrieve wet intermediate level waste (ILW) from within the Ponds Purge Sump (PPS) at the Hunterston A site in Scotland.

The contract, formally known as the Ponds Purge Sump Retrieval and Encapsulation Project (PPSREP), has an estimated value and duration of £1m and 12 months respectively. NSG’s extensive waste retrieval experience was a key factor in being awarded the contract, having successfully completed a variety of waste retrieval campaigns at numerous sites around the UK.

Andy Deall, Director of Projects North at NSG, commented:

We are delighted to be awarded this contract and look forward to supporting Magnox with the safe and secure clean-up of their site. We have quickly developed a collaborative relationship with the Hunterston team and I am very confident this will lead to the successful delivery of the project.

NSG Welcomes New Consultant to Cleator Moor Office

NSG is delighted to announce the latest addition to its Consultancy Services team, Dr Rob Thied.

Rob will head up the company’s Cleator Moor office and joins the team in the role of Principal Consultant. With a reputation for being highly knowledgeable, enthusiastic and versatile, Rob has worked for BNFL/Sellafield Ltd and most recently TÜV SÜD Nuclear Technologies during his 24 years in the nuclear industry.

Michelle Wise, Director of Consultancy Services at NSG, commented:

We are thrilled to have Rob on board as we strengthen our commitment to the thriving nuclear sector in West Cumbria. As we look to the future and continue to expand our team and expertise in the area, Rob will play a big role in ensuring our journey is successful.

NSG Decommissioning Newcastle University Cyclotron

NSG Environmental Ltd is delighted to announce it was recently awarded a contract to decommission and dispose of an ABT Biomarker Generator (BG-75) cyclotron at Newcastle University.

The redundant equipment was previously used for the production of positron emitting isotopes for radiochemistry/pre-clinical positron emission tomography (PET). The space currently occupied by the cyclotron is required for a new laboratory at the North East research university. Having recently decommissioned cyclotrons at GE Healthcare’s Amersham site, NSG’s vast nuclear decommissioning and waste management experience was a key factor in being awarded the contract.

The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2019.

NSG to Supply and Install Upgraded Effluent Samplers at Hunterston B

NSG Environmental Ltd is delighted to announce it was recently awarded a contract for the supply and installation of two upgraded Flow Proportional Liquid Effluent Samplers (FPLES) at EDF Energy’s Hunterston B site in Scotland.


For over 20 years, NSG has provided a maintenance service to all of the original FPLES installed at EDF Energy and Magnox nuclear power stations. During this period, a number of sampler components and critical spares became increasingly obsolete and NSG identified the need for an upgraded sampler that is fully supported with readily available components and critical spares. The Mark II design replicates the service connections and functional requirements of the original sampler whilst minimising redundancy and obsolescence.

The technology consists of small aliquots being taken at frequent intervals to ensure changes in discharge volume and rate are not overlooked whilst providing a manageable qualifying sample. The sampler provides a consistently reliable representative and proportional sample of liquid effluent, including any particulate present, for testing and analysis, plus an accurate indication of total discharge volume. Operational benefits of the technology include minimal operator intervention and low maintenance requirements.

NSG Secures Place on Dounreay Decommissioning Services and Works Framework

NSG Environmental Ltd is delighted to announce it has secured a place on the Dounreay Decommissioning Services and Works Framework as part of the AECOM E&C UK team.

The framework has a seven-year duration (4+2+1) and an anticipated value in the region of £400m. Opportunities include a number of major projects at the Scottish nuclear licensed site, such as the construction of a size reduction facility, shaft and silo decommissioning, and the demolition of historic active laboratories.

The team, led by AECOM, also includes influential partners Exyte Hargreaves, Kier Infrastructure and Overseas, Morson Projects, NIS Ltd, Squibb Group and Westinghouse Electrical Company UK.

Jim Porter, Managing Director of NSG, commented:

We are absolutely thrilled to secure a place on the framework and look forward to collaborating with our partners to deliver success on one of the most complex nuclear decommissioning projects in Europe.

Collaboration Success for NSG-Cavendish-Sellafield R&D Project

The project team during trials at NSG’s facility (from left to right): Chris Mould (Sellafield), Karen Allen (Cavendish Nuclear), Stephen Lloyd (Sellafield), Rob Hughes (NSG), Rachael Wills (Sellafield) and Dave Blackburn (NSG)

NSG Environmental Ltd is currently working with Sellafield and Cavendish Nuclear via the Design Services Alliance (DSA) framework to evaluate a technology for Magnox sludge resuspension. The project is part of a programme of work currently being undertaken by Sellafield to retrieve and process sludge stored in the FGMSP SPP1 Bulk Storage Vessels. The primary aim of the project is to test the effectiveness of the Pulsair Tote Stick to resuspend Magnox sludge prior to pumping and subsequent waste processing.

Sellafield recently placed the contract with Progressive through the DSA, which was flowed down to NSG because of their experience, facilities and collaborative approach. The team has mobilised quickly and the early trials are now being carried out at NSG’s R&D facilities in Chorley, Lancashire.

As part of the work, NSG is manufacturing a series of sludges with different formulations and properties to replicate a range of challenging environments that potentially may be faced on Sellafield site. Magnesium hydroxide powders are used to simulate the physical properties of the corroded Magnox sludge, while tungsten powder and tungsten pieces are used to represent the potential for dense metallic debris that may occur within the pond waste stream.

NSG is adding value to the trials through their ability to repeatedly manufacture the range of sludges to a consistent specification. In support of this, they also have equipment to test, sample and analyse sludge samples within their laboratory for rheology and particle size measurement. Cavendish is adding value to the team through their programme management and design input.

Early results are showing promise and, if successful, there is a plan to develop the work further through full-scale testing and potential future inclusion within a larger system on site.

Stephen Lloyd, Process Engineer and Technical Lead for Sellafield, commented:

It is great to see Sellafield, Cavendish and NSG collaborating to quickly evaluate technologies which can potentially add real value to the Legacy Ponds work programme.

NSG Wins RoSPA Sector Award

NSG Environmental Ltd is proud to announce it is the recent recipient of the RoSPA Sector Award for Research and Development.

The accolade, awarded to NSG for ‘consistent excellence and continuously improving performance’, was presented to the company at the 63rd annual RoSPA Awards in Birmingham on Thursday 6 June. The award is NSG’s 17th consecutive RoSPA Award and second Sector Award in four years.

Mark Coles, Director of Projects South and responsible for health and safety at NSG, commented:

I am honoured to accept this award on behalf of the team, whose passion and collaboration made this fantastic achievement possible. We have worked very hard to improve our health and safety performance across all our sites and will continue to challenge ourselves to ensure best practice.