December 2021 UK Project Management Round Up


The Power of PM, Green Projects,

Rail Project News, Beavers, Squirrels,

Boxing and Higher Education in Britain



By Miles Shepherd

Executive Advisor & International Correspondent

Salisbury, England, UK


After missing last month’s report, there is quite a lot of Project news to pass on.  I’ve had to be quite selective so you will need to look at the final paragraph and follow the links to get a full view of some of the smaller items.


Well, you can take this in several ways: first, PM is a powerful profession that exerts much power, often well in excess of the seniority of its practitioners.  Second you could mistake PM for the Prime Minister so I usually refer to him as our illustrious leader or OIL.  By far the most important aspect, though, is importance of the profession in the national economy.  It’s place on the world stage is becoming more widely recognized as the following examples show.

  • North Sea Link. First up is the completion at the start of October of a three- year project that will contribute to our move to a decarbonised economy.  The project is the construction of a link from Norway to UK, drawing on clean, hydro-electricity, eventually capable of transferring 1.4 gigawatts of power.  This is sufficient to meet the needs of up to 750,000 homes.  Naturally this comes at a cost – in this case £1.4 billion.  North Sea Link can supply up to 5 per cent of the nation’s households.  This is the equivalent of a decent-sized power station or about 40% of the planned output of Hinkley Point C.  The link runs for about 450 miles under the North Sea from a small village just outside Stavanger to Blyth in Northumberland, making it the world’s longest subsea power connection.  It is also the fifth interconnector produced by National Grid after previous projects with France, Belgium and the Netherlands that deliver about 5 gigawatts of electricity.  The upside is that the power generation is sourced from hydropower plants at large reservoirs.  These allow more flexible responses to increases in electricity demand than other technologies that rely on the wind blowing or the sun shining.  The downside is a further coupling of the UK to the energy grids of continental Europe, thus reducing our energy security.  There are macro-economic and strategic issues over here but the project has clearly been a successful engineering effort.
  • Sizewell C. The plans for a new nuclear reactor at Sizewell on the East Coast of England have received a boost in the form of a £1.7 billion ‘set aside’ in the recent Budget to “enable a final investment decision” on the new reactor. Sounds like a very fancy model has been dreamed up by some whizzo consultancy. The rest of us make do with traditional tools like cash flow models and decision trees.  Where is this in the Body of Project Management Knowledge?
  • Modular Reactors. Continuing on the nuclear theme comes news that Rolls Royce (RR) is trying to build on the successes of its design and manufacture of reactors for the UK submarine fleet (if you can call 3 aging Tridents a fleet). RR have a long term interest in nuclear and have developed small, modular reactors that can be built more cheaply and have a smaller footprint than conventional power plants.  Coming in at £2 billion a time, each reactor would cost the tenth of the giant £20 billion Hinkley Point nuclear station currently under construction in Somerset.  Each reactor can produce 470 megawatts of energy, enough to meet the power needs of a million homes.  The UK Government confirmed in mid-November that it had made £210 million available to Rolls-Royce Small Modular Reactor (SMR), a company majority owned by Rolls, established to develop the “low cost, low carbon” nuclear power technology.  RR is investing alongside BNF Resources UK and Exelon Generation.  The image below shows Ben Wallace, the Defence Secretary, right, alongside a model of Rolls-Royce’s proposed modular reactor

Image: Tom Bowles / Story Picture Agency

  • Experimental Reactors. Further news of projects in the nuclear industry come from China and USA. Investigations of new coolants and less radioactive fuels are the feature of an experimental reactor in China.  According to The Times, “If successful it could deliver safer and cheaper nuclear energy, helping the country to reduce its carbon footprint”. It will use molten salt rather than water as the coolant and its by-products are less suitable for weaponization.


To read entire report, click here

How to cite this work: Shepherd, M. (2021). UK Project Management Round Up, PM World Journal, Vol. X, Issue XII, December. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/pmwj112-Dec2021-Shepherd-UK-projects-and-project-management-roundup-Report-.pdf

About the Author

Miles Shepherd

Salisbury, UK


 Miles Shepherd is an executive editorial advisor and international correspondent for PM World Journal in the United Kingdom. He is also managing director for MS Projects Ltd, a consulting company supporting various UK and overseas Government agencies, nuclear industry organisations and other businesses.  Miles has over 30 years’ experience on a variety of projects in UK, Eastern Europe and Russia.  His PM experience includes defence, major IT projects, decommissioning of nuclear reactors, nuclear security, rail and business projects for the UK Government and EU.  Past Chair, Vice President and Fellow of the Association for Project Management (APM), Miles is also past president and chair and a Fellow of the International Project Management Association (IPMA).  He was a Director for PMI’s Global Accreditation Centre and is immediate past Chair of the ISO committee developing new international standards for Project Management and for Program/Portfolio Management.  Miles is Chair of the British Standards Institute’s Committee on Project, Programme and Portfolio Management and has been involved in the development of Uk’s BSI 6079 for more than 25 years.  He was involved in setting up APM’s team developing guidelines for project management oversight and governance.  Miles is based in Salisbury, England and can be contacted at miles.shepherd@msp-ltd.co.uk

To view other works by Miles Shepherd, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/miles-shepherd/