Open Call for Subsea Tech Innovation for Coastal Nuclear Site Decommissioning

Part of the Sellafield nuclear complex off the English coast on the Irish Sea: Calder Hall, the world’s first full-scale atomic power station, is here shown nearing completion in 1956. In the background are the chimneys and works of the plutonium factory of Windscale. (Image: Public Domain)

Subsea UK, an industry organization for the British subsea industry, has issued a call to action that urges companies to step forward with ideas and solutions that could support the decommissioning of the largest nuclear site in Europe. Subsea UK has teamed up with Sellafield Ltd to run a Game Changers workshop, inviting businesses across the UK to submit their ideas and technologies that could help increase the productivity and reduce the costs and risks associated with the decommissioning of the 700-acre site in west Cumbria.

Sellafield is “a nuclear fuel reprocessing site and nuclear decommissioning site close to the village of Seascale on the coast of the Irish Sea in Cumbria, England,” (Wiki). The decommissioning of the Sellafield site is anticipated to take more than 100 years to complete and cost between £70bn and £120bn, with operations facing complex challenges never encountered before and requiring investment in innovative technologies, concepts and methods.

Due to the diverse operations performed at the Sellafield site, a wide range of activities will need to be carried out to safely remove the nuclear and chemotoxic inventory, presenting huge diversification opportunities for businesses operating outside of the nuclear sector.

Through the Sellafield-sponsored Game Changers Innovation Programme, businesses will be able to access technology development funding and commercialization support, enabling them to develop solutions to these challenges. The event will welcome technical experts from the National Nuclear Laboratory and Sellafield Ltd. who will provide an overview of the decommissioning activities required when a nuclear plant reaches the end of its operational life and the challenges associated with condition monitoring and inspection of stored waste. They will also outline the route to funding and support, which will enable companies to develop their ideas and technologies and to align them with the nuclear sector.

Initial feasibility grants of £10k are available, and projects which are of sufficient interest to Sellafield may then be awarded up to £50k for proof-of-concept studies including further research and development and commercialization activities. —Subsea UK

The Game Changers event will be held Sept. 6 at the Chester Hotel in Aberdeen. For more information or to attend, visit https://www.subseauk.com/9676/lunch-and-learn-with-sellafield.

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