Leading the Way in Nuclear Security
When the UK Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark announced in September 2016 that EDF Energy’s Hinkley Point C new nuclear project could go ahead in Somerset, he was clear that the government saw it as the start of a new age of nuclear power in the UK. Clark said that nuclear power stations like Hinkley would play an “important part in ensuring our future low-carbon energy security”, and with five more nuclear sites in the pipeline over the next decade there is little room to doubt that commitment.
For G4S, it is exciting to be part of the nascent stages of a burgeoning new nuclear industry in the UK. In 2015 G4S secured the contract to provide an integrated-security solution for Hinkley throughout its construction phase; a ten year process which involves a high level of complexity and risk, with an expected 5,600 workers on site at peak. As with many sites that G4S secures the programme goes far beyond conventional manned guarding, and G4S has decades of experience protecting nuclear sites in North America and Europe to draw from.
G4S has conducted operations at every nuclear power plant in the United States and Mexico, using expertise and technology that greatly increases the ability to detect, assess, communicate and prevent or neutralise threats. The technology used at these sites includes various G4S developed and owned access control and video management platforms that increase efficiency and safety while providing an enhanced physical security programme.
G4S provides expert advice to clients to conduct risk and threat assessments to ultimately develop solutions that meet their specific needs. Steven Sinclair, Managing Director of Critical Infrastructure and Energy for G4S Secure Integration NSSC, said: “The core of our success lies in our ability to leverage the talent and knowledge of our employees. We understand current, and potential future, regulatory compliance standards and deliver complete, high-end solutions for our customers. We have over 40 years’ experience providing clients with insight into physical security strengths and weaknesses, allowing them to make strategic decisions that ensure protection and safety of their employees and assets while increasing operational business goals and meeting regulatory requirements."
At Hinkley Point C in the UK, G4S provides facilities management, access control and physical security, which utilises G4S’ industry leading incident case management software tool RISK360.
“RISK360 is an invaluable part of our armoury at Hinkley which provides a complete overview of all on-site incidents” explained Alistair McBride, the G4S director in charge of operations at Hinkley Point C. “The software enables you to identify where you are exposed to threats and ongoing incidents, instantly share information with other security officers and detect any patterns or trends.”
As well as Hinkley Point C, G4S secures other important infrastructure sites in the UK including the £4.2 billion Thames Tideway Tunnel ‘super-sewer’ construction project. The tunnel is the biggest infrastructure project ever undertaken by the UK water industry, and G4S works as a fully integrated partner and part of the decision making team for security across all 21 construction worksites. The project presents unique challenges that require innovative solutions, such as stand-alone mobile camera surveillance towers powered entirely by hydrogen for the stages when electricity is not available.
A defining characteristic of G4S’ has been the risk-based approach the company takes to security, rather than a proscriptive based approach. “At G4S we don’t provide ‘one size fits all’ security solutions” said Alistair. “Every new site is a unique blank canvas. We listen to what the client wants, provide our expert advice and experience, and together we build an integrated programme that delivers exactly what the client needs.”
Since G4S started operating at Hinkley, the Office for Nuclear Regulation has published its security assessment principles that introduce an outcome-based approach to security regulation, which encourages innovation and the development of risk-based solutions.
“For many companies this is a complete step change in how they have to approach nuclear security, but for G4S we’ve been doing it this way for decades. In addition to Hinkley, G4S Risk Consulting, working with partners, is the principle security design consultancy for the operational phase of Hitachi’s new Wylfa Power Station. This is the first security operation for a new power station since the new guidance came into place, but for G4S this approach is business as usual" said Alistair.
“Our solutions range from cutting edge security technology, to testing employees to ensure they are fit to work, to managing the staff canteen, transport, finance, vetting and many other facilities. G4S is a lot more than manned guarding, and our solutions at Hinkley Point C set the gold standard for securing nuclear sites in the UK.”