14 successful companies have been awarded contracts to come up with innovative approaches to remotely sort and segregate radioactive waste. The ‘Sort and Seg’ innovation competition, worth £3.9 million in total, was launched in July 2020. The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) – in partnership with Magnox Ltd, Sellafield Ltd and Innovate UK – set the challenge of coming up with proposals for using autonomous technology to sort and segregate mixed radioactive wastes at the UK’s oldest nuclear sites. The first phase of the competition is now complete and contracts, worth up to £60k each, have been awarded to 14 consortia that will now come up with feasibility studies for their proposals, including robotics, advanced sensors and artificial intelligence.
NDA 22nd Feb 2021 read more »
Vast, futuristic-looking building, check. Lots of men in smart overalls stood at computerised control desks, check. Masses of shiny hi-tech equipment performing mind-bending feats of precision. Check. But this isn’t some underground lair on a remote Caribbean island, it’s on an industrial park on the fringes of the Black Country. And this anonymous-looking site is home to one of the biggest players in Britain’s nuclear industry. Thousands of people will drive past Ansaldo Nuclear in Ettingshall, Wolverhampton without giving a second thought to what goes on behind its gates. But inside the huge yellow building, equipment that would once have been the preserve of sci-fi programmes is made with laser-like precision. The company produces equipment used in both the nuclear-power and defence industries. And a high percentage of components are manufactured in-house – raw metals come into one end of the building, hand-built, precision equipment comes out of the other. Managing director Andrea Basso speaks with a real excitement as he talks about the products coming out of the factory. He talks animatedly about the ‘moving caves’, train-like machines which run on rails above waste silos at plants such as Sellafield in Cumbria, remotely handling radioactive material and safely sealing it under concrete in nuclear-proof containers.
Express & Star 23rd Feb 2021 read more »