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Call for nuclear decommissioning innovation


Organisations are being encouraged to apply for a share of up to £3M to develop and demonstrate innovative technologies for nuclear decommissioning.

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), Sellafield Ltd and Innovate UK are to invest up to £3M in projects that will integrate and demonstrate flexible innovative technologies for the nuclear decommissioning sector.

The NDA said that decommissioning and site remediation would have increased priority at Sellafield Ltd over the next five years as reprocessing ceases.

The estimated cost of decommissioning the Sellafield site is £85bn, and the NDA said that innovation had a significant role to play in enabling safer, faster and cheaper solutions.

It added that projects should integrate technologies into a single platform, or a small number of platforms, and aim to:

  • Minimise human intervention
  • Increase productivity
  • Optimise waste treatment, packing and routing.

It said that examples of technologies that could be part of projects include:

  • Robotics and autonomous systems
  • Sensors and detectors
  • Imaging
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Virtual reality
  • Digital and information and communications technology (ICT)
  • Big data
  • Modelling and simulation.

Funding for the project is under the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI), part of Innovate UK’s suite of business support products, and the competition will run in two phases.

Phase one will be for the production of detailed technology plans and business cases, with the best ideas potentially attracting funding in the second phase to develop a demonstration project.

The NDA said that if this demonstration is successful, there is potential to progress to deployment and demonstration in a radioactive facility at Sellafield.

The competition opens on 30 January 2017 and the registration deadline is at 12pm on 19 April 2017. More information can be found here.

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