Founded in 1990 by Jean-François Barbet, an engineer who began his career at EDF in nuclear safety, SECTOR is an independent French SME specialising in the management of technological, organisational, project and human risks. Originally specialised in nuclear safety, the company is now active in many industrial sectors and has been able to open up to other professions, without ever deviating from its original vocation. SECTOR now employs more than 150 engineers throughout France in 6 agencies, and is established in Canada and Morocco. We met Mathieu Lepareux, its Managing Director, who has just taken over the keys to the company with his partner Olivier de Blois.
What are your activities in the nuclear industry?
Since its creation more than 30 years ago, SECTOR has been offering its know-how in nuclear safety, but also in operational safety, maintenance engineering (performance optimisation), project risk management (PMO), human factors engineering (HFE), as well as in more recent fields such as cybersecurity and eco-design.
We are involved in all the major civil and military nuclear programmes and projects currently underway, including the EPRs in France and abroad, the periodic reviews of the installed base, the Piscine project, the Barracuda, S3G and ITER programmes, and research reactors...
Our teams carry out, for example, operating safety studies aimed at improving the reliability and availability of lifting equipment in the fleet in operation, such as nuclear safety studies on behalf of the CEA's Military Applications Directorate, safety reviews of basic nuclear installations or diagnostics aimed at optimising the performance of systems in fuel cycle installations.
What is SECTOR's current situation?
Our current situation is above all marked by a transition in the company's governance. At the end of 2021, the founder, Jean-François Barbet, has decided to hand over the reins and the shareholding of the company to myself and Olivier de Blois. We would like to thank him for his confidence and his valuable support during this transitional phase.
In the wake of this development, we have decided to make major investments in the organisation of SECTOR : On the other hand, we have strengthened our teams by recruiting six business engineers in order to improve our territorial coverage and links with our customers, as well as a recruitment plan for some fifty people in various positions: engineers, business managers, business experts and branch managers.
On the project side, we are also very busy. In 2022, SECTOR won a dozen new framework contracts in the nuclear and defence sectors, and initiated new collaborations with some twenty customers. For example, in recent months, we have been providing our expertise on two major projects for the French civil nuclear industry: the JIMMY SMR project, which we are supporting from the point of view of nuclear safety, and EDF's SWITCH project, where SECTOR is involved in project risk management.
Under the impetus of Jean-François Barbet, the group's new technical department is very active and works on both internal company projects and collective projects; this is illustrated by our contribution to the "ENA" project for the creation of an autonomous shuttle, in collaboration with EDF, Navya, the Eiffage group, university partners and community committees. In the same spirit, we are starting the "JNI" project with the IRT System X, which aims to design and make interoperable the digital twins of complex industrial systems. SECTOR will contribute to the development of a methodological environment for the design of digital twins, to improve the resilience and sustainability of complex industrial systems.
What are the prospects for SECTOR in the coming years?
In parallel with the creation of a technical department, we have set up a three-year R&D strategy, with the aim of being at the forefront of innovative projects to define the state of the art in the sector with our clients.
We are also continuing to develop our training offer, which includes modules on safety culture, radiation protection, HFE, probabilistic safety assessments (PSA) and the application of the INB decree and safety demonstration methods.
In addition, SECTOR has set up a CSR working group made up of employees from different agencies, business lines and departments; this initiative to improve our CSR commitment will also enhance our attractiveness to customers and candidates.