National Nuclear Laboratory

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Funding grants announced for three ANSIC challenges to explore advanced nuclear technologies

The outcome of the three advanced nuclear technology challenges supported by the pilot Advanced Nuclear Skills and Innovation Campus (ANSIC) delivered by the National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) and FIS360 has been announced.

Total funding of £250,000 has been awarded to 10 organisations in the first tranche of awards from ANSIC, supported by the Department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), to help develop and commercialise advanced nuclear technologies in support of the long-term target of a zero carbon future.

A first-of-its-kind programme for the nuclear sector, ANSIC will bring together experts in industry and academia to collaborate on projects that will unleash innovation and unlock vital scientific advancements.

Feasibility project proposals were sought to address the following three challenges:

  • Advancing heat exchangers, energy management and conversion systems for advanced nuclear technologies for all energy end use applications including home heating, shipping, land transport, aviation, agriculture and industry.
  • Irradiation of material specimens including test specimens and/or the production of medical isotopes in advanced nuclear reactors to enable activities typically carried out in research reactors to be conducted within nuclear reactors without affecting primary reactor operations for power generation.
  • Digital technologies to support development, deployment, operation and decommissioning of advanced nuclear technologies

The 10 successful organisations have each been awarded £25,000. Awards in the heat exchanger challenge go to:

EGB Engineering (Southwell, Nottinghamshire), TOffeeAM Ltd (London), Teesside University (Middlesbrough) and Bangor University (Gwynedd, North Wales).

Projects receiving awards for the digital technologies challenge are from:

The University of Strathclyde (Glasgow), Metrarc Ltd (Colchester), PixelMill Ltd (Manchester), the University of Liverpool and KANDE International Ltd (Stoke on Trent).

Viridian Consultants Ltd based in Dorking, Surrey, will deliver the project for the irradiation of materials specimens in nuclear reactors. All projects will conclude by March 2022.

It is impossible to overestimate the scale of the challenge ahead for the UK in reaching net zero by 2050. Nuclear is already the single largest and most reliable zero-carbon energy source in the UK and advanced technologies hold even more potential for generating clean hydrogen, heat and electricity. As the UK’s national laboratory for nuclear fission, NNL is ideally placed to drive ANSIC and facilitate the strategic partnerships needed to secure its success.

Dr Paul Howarth, Chief Executive Officer at the National Nuclear Laboratory, said: “I am pleased to see the great response from applicants in relation to these three challenges.

“Advanced Nuclear Technologies (ANTs) have the potential to play a major role delivering net zero, so I am eager to see the results of the feasibility projects when they conclude in March 2022. ANSIC has tremendous potential to utilise nuclear in the delivery of a cleaner, more sustainable future to benefit society.”

Frank Allison, CEO of FIS360, which delivers the Game Changers programme in partnership with NNL, said: “It’s both exciting and very promising that as many as ten organisations have reached the exacting standards of our expert selection panels in this first set of new challenges.”