The following scope applies both to feasibility studies and collaborative R&D projects.
We may fund projects that address new-build and/or existing nuclear plants and their decommissioning. Projects may cover all aspects of the power plant, and are not limited to the ‘nuclear island'. We welcome applications that include technology transfer from other sectors, and companies not already in the nuclear supply chain, particularly SMEs.
Projects should help to meet the long-term challenge of providing cost-effective, safe, energy-efficient solutions with high reliability and durability. Projects must also take into account the key issues of regulation, health and safety, and non-proliferation. This may be achieved by:
the incremental development of technologies already used within the nuclear sector
the development and transfer of innovative solutions from other sectors into nuclear applications (for example, from the materials, manufacturing, automotive, ICT, aerospace, robotics and medical sectors)
the development of completely new technologies.
We encourage successful applicants to our previous competitions who want to take their innovations further, but participation in previous competitions is not a pre-requisite, and we welcome new applicants.
We are looking for proposals that relate to one or more of the following themes:
1. Construction, installation and commissioning.
This includes nuclear new-build and new facilities required for decommissioning and waste treatment. Included are projects that develop innovative construction, installation and commissioning technologies to support lower-cost and more efficient plant delivery.
This may include the development of novel construction materials with improved properties, modular construction, systems integration, and ‘virtual' technologies, including visualisation and simulation, to assist in training.
2. Operation and maintenance.
We are seeking proposals for projects that will significantly speed up and improve the quality, accuracy and reliability of the operation and maintenance of both new and existing plant. This may be through innovation in areas such as structural health monitoring, control systems, virtual reality, robotics, sensors, ICT and non-destructive evaluation technologies. This theme also includes the development of advanced structural integrity, life extension, materials degradation and modelling methodologies for existing plant, including the application of such methodologies to future new-build plant.
3. High-value manufacturing.
Continued support for the development of advanced manufacturing techniques is essential for growing market share in component supply, particularly for new-build, and the associated growth of the UK supply chain. Projects should target the development of high-value manufacturing (and associated inspection technologies), which may include advanced casting and forging technologies, processing, machining, welding and joining technologies. It may also include the development of advanced simulation and modelling technologies where there are clear benefits in terms of reduced cost and improved quality of components.
4. Decommissioning and waste management, including storage.
Encouraging innovation in decommissioning is a key component in the NDA's strategy (see www.nda.gov.uk/strategy). Projects may include technologies related to management of nuclear materials and spent fuels, nuclear waste management, and site restoration related to UK civil nuclear sites. We particularly encourage innovative decommissioning solutions that are applicable across multiple sites and deal with common needs, risks or opportunities. This theme includes the development of innovative technologies for plant decontamination, decommissioning and dismantling.
Novel technologies for the characterisation and treatment of radioactive waste, its handling, packaging and storage are also within scope. In this area we encourage the engagement of the NDA's Site Licence Companies, but this is not mandatory.
5. Open theme.
This includes innovative technologies that are not specifically covered under the other themes, but where the UK has expertise, and can develop a robust, innovative supply chain with a clear route to market. This may include, for example, front-end fuel cycle technologies, small modular reactors and advanced materials. It may also include technologies that have not previously been applied in the nuclear sector, but could make a significant technical and commercial impact.
Nuclear fusion is outside the scope of this competition except where early-stage deployment of existing spin-out technologies can be demonstrated .
Looking for partners to work on your project?
Brokering and partnership- building events will take place between January and March 2014.