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Subsea expertise sought to support Sellafield decommissioning

Subsea expertise sought to support Sellafield decommissioning

31 July 2018

Subsea UK has issued a call to action, urging supply chain companies to step forward with ideas and solutions that could support the decommissioning of the largest nuclear site in Europe.

The industry body has teamed up with Sellafield Ltd to run a ‘Game Changers’ workshop, inviting businesses across the UK to submit their ideas and technologies which could help increase productivity and reduce the costs and risks associated with the decommissioning of the 700 acre site in west Cumbria.

The decommissioning of the Sellafield site is anticipated to take over 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.

Through the Sellafield sponsored Game Changers Innovation Programme, businesses will be able to access technology development funding and commercialisation support, enabling them to develop solutions to these challenges.

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.

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 todevelop 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 commercialisation activities.

Neil Gordon, chief executive of Subsea UK commented: "Sellafield is the most complicated nuclear site in the world and the clean-up operation will provide some of the most challenging projects of their kind ever undertaken in the UK. It’s going to require a vast range of skills and technologies to ensure the safe removal of many different types of waste.

"This presents a huge opportunity for subsea supply chain companies to enter the nuclear arena with their innovative, smart technologies which have the potential to reduce risks, increase productivity, and lower overall costs. This joined up approach could also help accelerate the decommissioning programmeand deliver more efficient methods of waste management.”

The Subsea UK and Sellafield ‘Game Changers’ event will take place on 6 September at the Chester Hotel in Aberdeen. For more information, or to attend, visit