Advanced Materials & Manufacturing
Three years ago, Lee Bramald and his team at Flamgard Calidair, one of the world's leading companies in design and manufacturing innovation, received a call about an unspecified job overseas. Bramald finds it tricky to describe the sheer scale of the safe confinement they have created at Chernobyl. Working from their base in Pontypool, Flamgard collaborated with Swansea University to carry out part of the seismic testing on their fire and shut off dampers, which regulate the climate and air-flow as part of a $1.5 billion development at the site of the world's worst nuclear disaster.
"It became the largest roaming building ever built," says Bramald. "This new sarcophagus, as they call it, is designed to protect the world for 100 years."
The huge steel dome, which has been wheeled over the former nuclear reactor area, was commissioned as part of the major international contract to make Chernobyl safe, secured with Welsh Government support. It has since been nominated for a UK Export Excellence Award.
"It was amazing to go over there and see it," Bramald says. "We're innovative and look at all options, advancing the products and market sectors.
"The government has been extremely helpful. They're always receptive to our ideas and keen to work with industry. We've been really pleased with our relationship."
A proud Welshman born in Newport, Bramald has been with Flamgard for 30 years, gradually progressing from apprentice to chairman of an ever-expanding company playing a key role in projects worldwide.
They've also been able to call upon ASTUTE 2020, the cutting-edge research and development partnership in west Wales and the valleys.
"We've got an eager, hardworking and loyal workforce here," he says.
"We knew this was going to be a huge project, but we've had great support and access to lots of advice."