Friday, July 21, 2017

News: Innovative AMP companies tackle nuclear decommissioning

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Rapidly expanding engineering design consultancy, Eadon Consulting has secured funding from the UK's innovation agency to develop a new system for decommissioning ageing nuclear facilities.

Eadon works across a number of sectors, with expertise in mechanical, control, hydraulic and structural design and has moved office four times in six years within the AMP Technology Centre on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham due to the growing nature of the business.

Innovate UK's "Integrated Innovation for Nuclear Decommissioning" competition is specifically aimed at unlocking the potential of specialist small engineering companies, to tackle the £85 billion challenge of decommissioning the Sellafield site. Eadon’s proposed system will enable nuclear decommissioning to be conducted faster, more safely, and at reduced cost.

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The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), Sellafield Ltd and Innovate UK allocated up to £3m to fund innovation projects as part of the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI).

Eadon have formed a bespoke team to develop the "Versatile Decommissioning System", bringing together expertise from a range of engineering disciplines. Team members include offshore engineering experts: Red Engineering; scanning and data manipulation experts PES Scanning (also based on the AMP); Sellafield construction experts Westlakes Engineering; The Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing and Research Centre (also based on the AMP); and the famous ship builder and fabricator Cammell Laird.

James Hill, company director at Eadon Consulting, said: "As a small company of specialist engineers we are ideally placed to solve problems, our size allows us to innovate and quickly develop new ideas. This funding from the UK's Innovation Agency unlocks our potential, allowing us to really focus on the challenges of decommissioning nuclear facilities.

"Collaborating with other small companies means that we can tap into a wealth of knowledge and experience from lots of different industries and pick out all the most useful bits. Our immediate focus in on decommissioning the nuclear site at Sellafield, but the systems we are developing have huge potential for export all over the world."

The project is set to start in August and run for three months. Work will include developing concept designs for new equipment and exploring new techniques for planning and visualisation of decommissioning tasks. On successful completion of the first phase, Innovate UK will release additional funding to develop full working prototypes and start trialling the new system.

The Nuclear AMRC in Rotherham is already working with Sellafield Ltd to slash the cost of making future designs of waste container boxes, potentially saving hundreds of millions of pounds in decommissioning costs.

Tens of thousands of these 3 cubic metre steel boxes will be needed over the next 30 years with each one costing tens of thousands of pounds to produce using existing manufacturing techniques. The research focuses on the two most promising routes for cost reduction identified by Sellafield Ltd – optimising and automating welding of the container; and producing the lid flanges by casting instead of machining.

Eadon Consulting website
Nuclear AMRC website

Images: Sellafield Ltd / Nuclear AMRC


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