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Sort and segregate nuclear waste (Phase 1)

General & Misc
Project Size:


This is a Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition funded by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.

The aim of the competition is to develop an autonomous and integrated toolkit to sort and segregate radioactive waste generated by nuclear decommissioning activities. This will reduce the level of waste requiring disposal, increase productivity, reduce costs, and improve safety.

This is phase 1 of a 2-phase competition. A decision to proceed with phase 2 will depend on the outcomes from phase 1 and the assessment of a separate application into a subsequent phase 2 competition.


Your project

  • Must start by 1 March 2021
  • Can last up to 3 months
  • Have total costs of up to £60,000, including VAT.

To lead a project, you can:

  • Be an organisation of any size
  • Work alone or with others as subcontractors

Contracts will be awarded to a single legal entity only.

Due to the wide range of technologies required to provide a solution to this challenge, you are allowed to work with others as subcontractors where their special expertise is needed.

There is no limit on the number of applications you can make as the lead applicant. The applications you submit must be materially different.


The aim of this competition is to develop an autonomous, integrated toolkit which sorts, and segregates radioactive waste generated by nuclear decommissioning activities into compliant, optimised packages.

Your project must:

  • Reduce waste by prioritising its recycling over its disposal
  • Reduce the number of waste sorting and segregation processes carried out by humans
  • Increase the productivity of the processes
  • Be scalable and transferable

The funders are seeking innovative projects that combine existing technologies into a single integrated system.

Your application must address all the following:

  • Detect the type and intensity of the radioactivity present using existing technology or off-the-shelf equipment
  • Determine the composition, size, shape, and surface area of the material
  • Sort and segregate the waste by radioactive classification and material type
  • Remotely move the waste from a specific area, process it and then pack it into the appropriate container (for example, skips, drums, boxes or bags) ensuring the space used is optimised
  • Collect and analyse data and images, and retain accurate records

The funders are keen to encourage technology transfer from other industrial sectors that carry out multiple complex automated tasks, rapidly and safely. This might include, for example, food processing, logistics, waste management, high value manufacturing or medical.

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