UK invites innovation in radwaste management

28 July 2020

The UK has launched a GBP3.9 million (USD5.0 million) competition to find innovative ways to sort and segregate radioactive waste at some of its oldest nuclear sites. The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority - including Sellafield Ltd and Magnox Ltd - has teamed up with Innovate UK to call on companies to "come up with new ideas and innovative approaches to the challenge".

The 'Sort and Segregate Nuclear Waste' competition opens on 17 August (Image: NDA)

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.

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

Derek Allen, Innovate UK’s Nuclear Innovation Lead, added: "We are delighted to be working with the NDA again to deliver another Small Business Research Initiative to help drive innovation into the nuclear decommissioning supply chain."

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 - 15 submissions were identified in phase one as having potential, five then went forward to phase two to develop their ideas further and two winning consortia were then selected.

The latest competition will be open for applications from 17 August. A number of consortia are expected to 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 GBP60,000. The best submissions will then be given up to GBP900,000 to go forward to the design and build phase of the project, which can last up to 15 months.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News