The UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) announced that five UK companies have progressed through to the next phase of a £5.5 million radioactive waste segregation competition.
The ‘Sort & Seg’ innovation competition, launched in July 2020, set the challenge of finding ways to sort and segregate mixed radioactive waste at some of the UK’s oldest nuclear sites.
The first phase of the competition, run in partnership with NDA, Magnox Ltd, Sellafield Ltd and Innovate UK, asked companies to submit proposals on how they would bring together innovative techniques and technology to tackle this ‘rad-waste’ challenge. Five companies and their diverse consortia have now been awarded contracts, each worth up to GBP900,000 to build demonstrators for their ideas. They will be set to work on a mixed pile of non-radioactive waste, with the aim of proving they can increase recycling rates, reduce the number of waste containers sent for disposal and reduce the hazard to people and the environment.
The NDA’s Head of Innovation, Sara Huntingdon, said: “We’re extremely impressed with the calibre of proposals received from the supply chain, and I am delighted that we’ve been able to increase the number of companies we’re taking through to the next phase. We had originally planned to fund three demonstrators but, because we received such a broad range of ideas which could benefit our sites in future, we’re taking more forwards into phase two. We have increased the total value of the competition to GBP5.5 million, which really demonstrates our ongoing commitment to research and development. This is good news for the supply chain, and it gives us access to more innovative techniques and approaches that could help deliver the NDA’s mission safer, faster and in a way that costs less in the future.”
Roger Townsend, Innovation Lead, Energy Clean Growth and Infrastructure Lead at Innovate UK, said: “The quality of the phase one work was excellent, and some exciting projects will be funded to non-active demonstrators in phase two. There are some great examples of technology transfer, and we look forward to seeing these innovative projects progress. The successful companies are: Cavendish Nuclear Ltd, Barrnon Ltd, Create Technologies Ltd, Atkins Ltd, and Veolia Nuclear Solutions (UK) Ltd.