The UK and Japan have agreed to a research collaboration to help with nuclear decommissioning. According to a 20 January press release issued by the UK government, the £12m robotics project will assist in the safe decommissioning in Japan of Tokyo Electric Power Company’s (TEPCO’s) Fukushima Dai-ichi reactors, as well at Sellafield, the multi-function nuclear site in the UK north-west. The project has been named LongOps, reflecting the plan to develop robotics-related technologies—such as long-reach arms—to carry out safe and efficient decommissioning of nuclear plants.
Adrian Simper, group strategy and technology director at the UK’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) said: “Robotics offers us new ways to tackle our complex work safely, securely and cost-effectively. This unique international collaboration allows us to pool expertise and experience from Japan, working together and investing in cutting-edge ways to find solutions to our shared problems and benefit our clean-up mission”. The collaboration, to be funded by UK Research and Innovation, the NDA and TEPCO, is expected to last four years.