The decommissioning dividend

Written by: Paul Fanning | Published:

The cover story of Eureka’s September issue looks at the programme to decommission the UK’s legacy nuclear power plant, with particular emphasis on the opportunities this creates for engineering innovation.

The reasons for this are clear: radioactive environments represent some of the most challenging engineering scenarios possible, with extended human presence in them simply not feasible. This means that robotics have a massive role to play and it is these solutions that are attracting much investment.

What many may not understand is just how massive an undertaking this decommissioning programme is. Decommissioning across 17 nuclear sites will take more than a century and involve the expenditure of an estimated £118 billion pounds over that period.

Clearly this offers considerable scope for investment in and applications of new technologies. The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority currently offers significant funding for the right solutions. With that in mind, it would seem a good time for the UK’s design engineers to step up.

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