New robotics and AI hub to support Sellafield nuclear decommissioning

The facility in Whitehaven, known as RAICo1, will be used by Sellafield Ltd, supply chain partners and academia to develop technologies needed for decommissioning

Big Zero Report 2022

The first of a network of robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) collaboration hubs to support the decommissioning of nuclear sites like Sellafield has been opened.

The facility in Whitehaven, known as RAICo1, will be used by Sellafield Ltd, supply chain partners and academia to develop technologies needed for decommissioning.

It will offer the ability to test technologies in environments that mirror those on the Sellafield site, such as gloveboxes and water tanks, removing some of the challenges associated with working on the nuclear site.

Rebecca Weston, Sellafield’s Chief Operating Officer said: “We know we can deliver the UK’s nuclear decommissioning challenge safer, faster and at less cost by using robotics and artificial intelligence.

“RAICo1 is a real step towards achieving that. It brings together the owners of the challenges with the people who have the ideas and technology that can solve them.”

RAICo1 is a joint initiative developed by Sellafield Ltd and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) in collaboration with the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA), Manchester University and the National Nuclear Laboratory.

Rob Buckingham, Director of remote applications in challenging environments, UKAEA’s robotics facility added: “UKAEA and NDA need remotely operated tools that are efficient, reliable, cost-effective and reusable.

“The next generation of robotics and smart machines will deliver our mission faster, cheaper and at lower risk. Learning together, in collaboration to avoid duplication, has to be the best way.”

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