Sellafield Contest Looks To VR For New Innovations In Nuclear Decommissioning

When it comes to nuclear power most people seem to possess one of two opinions. Either that nuclear power is a potentially dangerous services that offers far more in the way of negatives and potential negatives than positives. Or that it is still a resources not yet properly tapped that could ultimately solve many of the Northern Hemisphere’s power needs. There seems to be very little in the way of middle ground.Chapelcross Nuclear Power Station (Sellafield)

For those within the industry dealing with the legacy of the past is as much a part of nuclear power as providing for the future – and not just waste materials. What, for instance do you do with an out of date site that is being decommissioned? Is there potentially a better way?

For the UK, perhaps the most famous nuclear power station is Sellafield, located in Cumbria in Northern England. The plant, comprising two sites which at one time was the first commercial power station in the world able to produce electricity on an industrial-level scale, is in such a process. A dangerous process to be sure, and the team are keeping an open mind as to any possible new and innovative solutions.

To that end National Decommissioning Authority (NDA), Innovate UK and Sellafield Ltd have announced a competition to generate ideas – and virtual reality (VR) is one technology the team are “particularly interested” in

As revealed on the NDA’s blog, the task at hand is no small one:

In its simplest form, the decommissioning requirement is the removal of all of the pipes, vessels and steelwork from the cell, then packaging the waste for disposal or storage in an optimised manner. There are numerous aspects to this, such as:

  • Characterisation
  • Visualisation and planning
  • Decontamination
  • Size reduction
  • Contamination management
  • Holding
  • Moving
  • Waste packing

Officially opening January 30th, with a briefing event in London on February 14th. The deadline for submissions being April 26th. More information can be found on the NDA Blog.

For more information on the creative ways industry is looking to utilise VR and more, stay tuned to VRFocus for updates.