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Saturday, 23 May 2015

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THE latest new starters at Workington’s Metals Recycling Facility (MRF) at Lillyhall are helping to fulfil the company pledge to boost employment in the town.

Studsvik New Starters: (left to right) Martin McCluskey, Conor McGlennon and Lee Hardon

In the last few weeks four men have been recruited to the Joseph Noble Road site run by Studsvik UK – taking the total employed to 20.

“As the plant’s reputation for efficient and safe recycling grows within the UK nuclear industry there will be more employment opportunities for local people,” said Mike McMullen, manager at the MRF.

“I would like to see us grow to a point where we could envisage having a double shift which would mean even more jobs.”

Nineteen-year-old apprentice electrician Conor McGlennon, from Parton, is a former call centre worker who spent a year at the National Skills Academy before joining Studsvik.

“It’s a great place to work, the other guys are really helpful and I’m thoroughly enjoying the job,” he said.

“It’s a three-year apprenticeship and I’m already doing maintenance and testing, fault finding, electrical installation and instrumentation.”

For 46-year-old Martin McCluskey of Egremont, his role as MRF operative is a natural extension of his previous career as a decommissioning operative on the Windscale Advanced Gas-cooled Reactor (WAGR).

“Moving to the MRF was a good career move as I’m able to apply the skills I’ve learned at Sellafield over the last 15 years,” he said.

Lee Hardon, 37, from Workington, also worked on the WAGR. His role as health physics monitor ensures the plant and its workers adhere to the strictest safety regulations.

“I check all the ISO containers that bring the scrap metal into the plant, as well as testing the metals inside – before and after decontamination,” he explained.

He also regularly surveys the outside grounds as well as individual workers to ensure everything is clean.

The fourth recent appointment, Steve Smith, is the MRF’s new assurance manager.

This month also saw the site welcome students from the University of Central Lancashire who toured the facility as part of their degree course in nuclear decommissioning.

Eminent nuclear geologist Dr George Reeves – who has been helping to teach the students – said the 11 second and third-year BSc undergraduates found the visit “very informative and worthwhile”.

Most of the students are based at UCLan’s Cumbria Campus at Westlakes and work for Sellafield Sites Ltd.

Some, through their work, have even consigned low-level waste to the Studsvik MRF – which decontaminates a variety of metals contaminated with low-level radiation for future recycling.

Dr Reeves said the visit was part of the practical ‘hands on experience’ element of their course.

“I have been taking undergraduates and postgraduate students to industrial and nuclear facilities for 25 years,” he told Futures.

“These have included trips to quarries and tunnels as well as the Thorp and Mox plants at Sellafield.

“Such visits, including this one to Studsvik’s MRF, are essential for any applied, engineering-related courses.”

Sam Usher, president of Studsvik UK, said the company was delighted to welcome students, especially those working in the nuclear sector.


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