National Nuclear Laboratory


Tuesday 28 January 2020

National Nuclear Laboratory and Sellafield Ltd partner with Lloyd’s Register Safety Accelerator on ventilation duct inspection

National Nuclear Laboratory is pleased to be partnering with Sellafield Ltd and Lloyd’s Register Safety Accelerator to improve the safety and efficiency of ventilation duct inspection. This newly launched Safety Accelerator Innovation Challenge seeks to revolutionise the process by
applying digital startup technology to improve safety and efficiency, removing the need for human inspection, benefiting a variety of civil infrastructure industries.

Corrosion, cracks, thinning walls, holes in ductwork and other defects can cause air quality problems and safety risks, if left undetected. To mitigate this, ducts are routinely assessed by site staff in order to determine their condition, relying on visual inspection techniques carried out by the experienced engineer. This manual process can pose a safety risk to the engineer, comes at a significant cost, is time consuming and has the potential for human error.

NNL is proud to join forces with Sellafield Ltd and the Safety Accelerator to reduce or remove the need for human and manual inspection, sourcing innovative safetytech startup solutions capable of tackling this important global challenge, bringing a more dynamic, digital, remote inspection
solution to civil infrastructure industries.

Details of the challenge and how to apply can be found by clicking on this link.

“We are delighted to have launched this Lloyd’s Register Safety Accelerator challenge in partnership with Sellafield Ltd. The Accelerator is a novel mechanism for identifying digital solutions for safety and risk challenges that will hopefully provide innovative solutions from the broader supply chain. We’re very much looking forward to the outputs and moving towards implementation.” Kirsty Hewitson, VP Innovation, NNL

Andrew Cooney, External Innovation Lead, Sellafield Ltd said, “We’re delighted to be involved with the Safety Accelerator Challenge. Digital inspection technology helps us deliver our mission more safely and cost effectively. Innovation challenges like this allow us to access new expertise and bring increased diversity to our supply chain”.

Plug and Play Tech Center, programme partners and the largest VCs in Silicon Valley, are currently sourcing global safetytech startups with applicable remote inspection technology solutions to tackle this challenge.

Shortlisted startups will be announced in the coming weeks, with finalists
going forward to pitch at a Dragon’s Den-style live pitch event. NNL, Sellafield Ltd. and the Safety Accelerator will join a select team of LR expert judges, to hear pitches from finalist applicants, all vying for their chance to work with these industry leaders on a funded safetytech trial.

Maurizio Pilu, VP Digital Innovation at Lloyd’s Register said, “We have worked with Sellafield and the National Nuclear Laboratory to identify and shape a challenge which affects many industries, and through the Safety Accelerator we’re looking forward to connecting them with safetytech startups that can solve it, for instance with innovative remote inspection technologies.”

Jan Przydatek, Director of Technologies, Lloyd’s Register Foundation added, “This is an important challenge which will benefit the safety and efficiency of inspections for many civil infrastructure industries, where ductwork is present. We’d like to thank Sellafield Ltd and the National Nuclear Laboratory for their expertise and for partnering with the Safety Accelerator, to help mitigate this risk.”

“It is wonderful to see that Sellafield Ltd and the National Nuclear Laboratory are joining our journey in safetytech by providing a stage for this very important topic. At Plug and Play, our strength lies in finding the right cutting-edge tech companies for our partner’s needs. We are excited to bring together all the world-class startups working on this challenge and look forward to exploring the imminent solutions together.” Sallar Faridi, Director, Plug and Play Hamburg.

About the Safety Accelerator

The Safety Accelerator is a joint initiative between Lloyd’s Register, one of the world’s leading providers of professional services for engineering and technology and Lloyd’s Register Foundation, a charitable foundation helping to protect life and property by supporting engineering-related education, public engagement and the application of research, which is
funding the programme. The Safety Accelerator is run in partnership with Plug and Play, the largest global innovation platform and most active venture capital fund in Silicon Valley.

For more information about the Lloyd’s Register Safety Accelerator, including how to become an industry challenge partner, or applying to solve a challenge, please visit:

About Plug and Play

Plug and Play is a global innovation platform. Headquartered in Silicon Valley, we have built accelerator programs, corporate innovation services and an in-house VC to make technological advancement progress faster than ever before. Since inception in 2006, our programs have expanded worldwide to include a presence in over 25 locations globally giving startups the necessary resources to succeed in Silicon Valley and beyond. With over 10,000 startups and 300 official corporate partners, we have created the ultimate startup ecosystem in many industries.

Companies in our community have raised over $7 billion in funding, with successful portfolio exits including Danger, Rappi, Dropbox, Lending Club and PayPal. For more information, visit

About Sellafield Ltd

Sellafield Ltd. operates the biggest nuclear site in Britain on behalf of its owners, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA). With a workforce of more than 11,000 people, the company is one of the largest employers in the north of England. Its role is to lead the 100-year programme to safely decommission and clean-up Sellafield while ensuring the local community is not negatively impacted.

This is arguably the most important environmental project in Europe. We also manage radioactive waste and special nuclear materials on behalf of the UK. Additionally, by the end of 2020 we will have completed our 70-year mission to reprocess spent nuclear fuel for the UK and overseas customers.

About NNL

The UK’s National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) is grounded in robust science and decades of experience. NNL is the authoritative voice in the UK and beyond for technological development in nuclear power. Our unparalleled understanding of the nuclear science, challenges and opportunities makes us an unrivalled authority and partner in the field, providing experts, technologies, and access to cutting-edge facilities to organisations globally.

Harnessing potential technologies and translating them into to industry-ready solutions means our pioneering approach spearheads international improvement and technological progress. We deliver a vast range of projects – from drilling holes to analyse underground wastes with our
integrated micro-drilling technology, to developing state-of-the-art power systems for spacecraft, based on radioactive materials.