Government launches nuclear innovation competition

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) has teamed up with Innovate UK to call on companies to come up with new ideas and innovative approaches to the challenge.

Robotics, sensors, artificial intelligence and autonomous systems are just some of the potential technologies which could be used for the Sort and Segregate Nuclear Waste competition, according to an official statement.

It is open to any interested organisations - which do not have to be from a nuclear background - to form consortia and develop a plan to address the challenge. It involves work at Sellafield and several Magnox nuclear reactor sites – the UK’s first generation of nuclear reactor.

The NDA’s head of innovation Sara Huntingdon said: "Dealing with waste is a huge ongoing challenge for us as we progress our mission to decommission nuclear sites.

"We want people to be creative and help us develop new and innovative solutions, so we welcome technologies from all sectors - organisations don’t have to have nuclear experience - just great ideas and a passion for turning those into a reality."

Innovate UK’s nuclear innovation lead Derek Allen added: “We look forward to working with a wide range of organisations, particularly those who will be new to the sector, to deliver exciting and creative solutions."

This is the second competition to encourage integrated innovation in nuclear decommissioning. The first launched in 2017 to find solutions to help decommission highly radioactive facilities at Sellafield. Of the 15 submissions in phase one with potential, five then went forward to phase two to develop their ideas further and two winning consortia were then chosen to turn their ideas into reality.

The new competition will be open for applications from 17 August. After a rigorous assessment process it is likely a number of consortia will be chosen in February 2021 to carry out a three-month feasibility study into their idea, for which they will each be awarded up to £50,000.

The best submissions will then being given up to £750,000 to go forward to the design and build phase of the project, which can last up to 15 months.

    Share Story:

Recent Stories