A £3m fund has been launched to help decommission Sellafield’s nuclear fuel reprocessing plants.
Organisations can bid for a share of the cash to develop technology to help clean-up the Thorp and Magnox facilities.
Reprocessing at Sellafield will cease at the end of the decade.
The plants will then be decommissioned, although part of Thorp will remain operational as storage facility.
The competiton, called Integrated Innovation for Nuclear Decommissioning, is being run by the Nuclear Decommissiong Authority (NDA) and Innovate UK.
It will focus on the development of robots and remotely operated equipment.
The goals are to reduce risks for workers, cut timescales and costs and identify solutions for waste.
Chris Hope, technical innovation manager for the NDA, said: “Thorp and Magnox are unique.
“They contain hazardous environments and we know they will present major decommissioning challenges in the years ahead so we are aiming to encourage early solutions.
“We are particularly interested in robotics, other autonomous systems, sensors and detectors, imaging and virtual reality.
“These will ensure a safer environment for the workforce and support planning.”
Dr Derek Allen, innovation lead for Innovate UK, said: “We are delighted to be collaborating with the NDA on a challenge that requires genuine innovative solutions.
“We want the decommissioning challenge to bring together a host of innovative organisations from a wide range of sectors.
“The demonstrator will be a showcase for UK innovation with Sellafield playing a major role by providing the crucial route to market that innovators require.”
The competition will be split into stages, with initial funding available to develop a business case followed by demonstrations in a non-radioactive environment.
If this demonstration is successful, there is the potential for deployment and demonstration in a radioactive facility at Sellafield.
The first event will be a briefing for interested organisations on 14 February at London’s Digital Catapult.
A series of regional brokering sessions will follow.
Applications must be submitted by 26 April 2017.
Below is a summary of planned events:
Digital Catapult, London
Oil & Gas Technology Centre, Aberdeen
Armada House, Bristol
For more information please contact:
Matt Legg: +44 (0) 19467 83566 firstname.lastname@example.org
Ruth Hutchison: +44 (0)19467 86227 email@example.com