Blog: How years of experience shaped a solution for nuclear industry - Tony Male, Regional Sales Manager at Whitecroft Lighting

Blog: How years of experience shaped a solution for nuclear industry - Tony Male, Regional Sales Manager at Whitecroft Lighting

  • Posted on April 3 2024

After six years of testing, research and development, in 2023 we delivered the UK’s first LED lights designed specifically for the UK nuclear industry, installed at Hinkley Point C for operator EDF.

The first nuclear power station to be built in the UK since 1995, Hinkley Point C is one of Europe’s biggest civil engineering projects. Once completed its two nuclear reactors will each generate enough electricity to power six million homes – that’s 7% of the UK's total capacity!

 

Projects

I’ve worked on so many great lighting projects over my 30 years with Whitecroft and there are a number I’m particularly proud of because of the innovation or the barriers we have pushed:

A few of my favourites include the new-build Jaguar Land Rover Advanced Product Creation Centre in Gaydon, Warwickshire; my role in the complete interior refurbishment of Bristol City Hall; and recently lighting the famous Aardman Animations studios in Bristol.

I’m also proud when I see my contribution to the lighting of Bristol School’s Schools for the Future building, and the Environment Agency’s Horizon House, also in Bristol.

 

The Brief

You can imagine my excitement when in 2018 we were first approached by EDF, who were keen to find a quality British manufacturer that could meet its exacting specifications.

EDF’s brief to us was to design and manufacture the first energy-efficient LED lighting for the UK nuclear power industry, which still relied on traditional fluorescent lighting.

 

Nuclear Lighting

Image credit: EDF Energy

 

Challenges

We formed a small team and set about learning a new technical language, much of which was beyond the usual realm of commercial lighting.

Our technical lead, Lee Tupman, had to master new engineering and environmental challenges and satisfy the most stringent of safety considerations, becoming very familiar with units of Gray (Gy), the international system of measurement for levels of radiation.

We approached each technical challenge systematically, at times crisscrossing Europe to use specialist testing facilities or collaborating with the likes of I-Valo, a fellow member of our parent Fagerhult Group.

You can find out more about the finer technical details of the project here, but it’s fair to say that some of the customised testing regimes we created were as innovative as the actual finished LEDs.

We demonstrated that we could deliver a viable LED solution, with the first batch of lighting delivered in May 2023, growing to around 40,000 LED luminaires installed across 90% of the Hinkley Point C estate by the end of the project.

 

industrial lighting systems uk ltd

 

What’s Next?

Well, nuclear energy is a highly specialised industry, and every lighting project will bring its own unique set of technical requirements. Still, I’m confident that having delivered this project Whitecroft is well placed to help the UK’s next generation of nuclear power stations.

It has also been fantastic to see newspapers and magazines covering our success, culminating in a big spread in the March edition of the Lighting Journal – the voice of the Institute of Lighting professionals.

 

Success

On a personal note, I’ve taken so much positivity from being part of this project, not least the realisation that great things can be achieved by a small, empowered, and motivated team, particularly when it’s allowed to engage with a client at an early stage.

Leading such a multifaceted project is also a testament to how people can use their accumulated knowledge to tackle complex challenges – I know I drew on many years of experience.

Finally, I also think it’s important to recognise that it takes a company as brave and forward-thinking as Whitecroft Lighting to give its people the trust, time, and space to take on a six-year development challenge when there was no guarantee of success. Some companies may talk about innovation, but Whitecroft supported its people to deliver it.

 

Find out more about the Hinkley Point C LED lighting.

"I am Tony Male, Regional Manager leading an experienced team of Lighting Solution Providers in the South West and Wales while developing key Strategic Major Project opportunities."

Get in touch with Tony at 

Tony.Male@whitecroftlight.com


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