Former Westinghouse vice president Duncan Craig has joined the Fit For Nuclear team to help UK manufacturers meet the standards demanded by the industry’s top tier.
Craig has over 35 years’ experience in the UK nuclear sector.
“One of the things I’ve learned the hard way is what nuclear culture means,” he says. “In my experience, there are many hugely capable manufacturers in the UK. However, working successfully in the nuclear sector requires an exceptional level of rigour and discipline. I hope to help companies to better understand what this means and why it is important.”
The Fit For Nuclear (F4N) assessment allows manufacturing companies to test whether they are ready to enter the nuclear supply chain. Managed by the Nuclear AMRC, F4N lets companies measure their operations against the standards required to supply the nuclear industry, and take the necessary steps to close any gaps.
Around 150 companies have completed the online F4N assessment over the past three years, with the majority receiving ongoing support and development from the Nuclear AMRC team. As part of the civil nuclear Sharing in Growth programme, backed by the Regional Growth Fund, F4N is now being enhanced and expanded with the aim of supporting 300 firms over the next two years.
Craig’s role as nuclear specialist will include visiting companies to better understand their strengths and challenges, and developing follow-up plans to help them raise their performance. “One thing I’ve always enjoyed is going out into manufacturing businesses large and small,” he says.
Craig joined BNFL in 1978 as an engineer and worked at Springfields for 25 years in a variety of roles. After leading a major skills programme, he was made responsible for all Magnox fuel production, then moved into the oxides area to lead the integration of four major plants into a single automated facility. He was then appointed site manager for Springfields, with responsibility for 2,500 staff.
“One of the big focuses was performance improvement – how do we improve quality and reduce costs, because we were under constant price pressure from customers. We did a lot of process improvement and lean manufacturing, and were pretty successful,” he recalls.
He then moved to Westinghouse to lead manufacturing improvements across the global fuels business, combining Toyota-style production systems with nuclear industry best practice. His last role before retirement was vice president for operations support for Europe, Middle East and Africa.
Craig represented Westinghouse on the Nuclear AMRC’s programme board in the centre’s early days, and was keen to continue working with the centre – and with his former colleague Mike Tynan.
“I’m excited about spending time in the Nuclear AMRC. I have great admiration for the work that has been done so far and I think it has a crucial role to play in the future,” Craig says. “When you work in an industry for 35 years, it starts to matter to you. I believe I have knowledge and expertise that will help the UK nuclear industry, particularly SMEs, and that’s important to me.”