This Decommissioning Data Challenge was designed to find a company to work with the Robotics and Artificial Intelligence Collaboration (RAICo) to develop a high-quality proof-of-concept digital-twin that can utilise, process, and merge complex data to make nuclear decommissioning faster, cheaper, and safer, answering the challenge of:

“What digital tools can be used to create a digital twin from pre-existing and robot-collected data that enables a structured approach for strategic decision making and analytics in order to make nuclear decommissioning faster/safer/cheaper?”

The Robotics and Artificial Intelligence Collaboration (RAICo) is a collaboration between the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), Sellafield Ltd, UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) and University of Manchester. It is an end user-led collaboration that brings together teams from fission decommissioning and fusion engineering. The programme is focussed on developing robotics and artificial intelligence technologies that are required for the deployment of remotely operated solutions for decommissioning and future fusion powerplants.

Benefits and support

The successful company will have the opportunity to work at a RAICo facility, and will benefit from:

Access to a RAICo site and learning opportunities about RAICo

Tours of RAICo, Remote Applications in Challenging Environments (RACE), and JET’s In-vessel Training Facility (IVTF), and demonstrations of existing digital tools created for decommissioning.

Technical guidance and support to develop a proof-of-concept

Access to technical guidance and support from RAICo 

Up to £40k funding

The successful applicant is expected to receive up to £40k funding, released according to milestones agreed between the applicant and RAICo.

Access into the nuclear sector

Working with RAICo will help the applicant gain insight into opportunities within the nuclear sector, grow their visibility and expand their portfolio within the nuclear sector including fission and fusion.

Support to plan next steps after proof of concept

Support to further development, testing plans, and deployment roadmapping.

Selection criteria

Application will be assessed against the following criteria:

Criteria 1: Proposed Idea

  • The applicant’s idea is realistic, well-developed and demonstrates a strong vision and application to the challenge with consideration of the requirements and context.
  • The idea is innovative and original in a way that meets the challenge requirements.

Criteria 2: Technical Project Summary

  • The applicant’s technical approach is valid and meets the technical expectations of this challenge.
  • The company demonstrates how its idea is scalable and has the potential to succeed in its full range of capabilities at a growing scale.

Criteria 3: Project Plan and Methodology

  • All evidenced in a well thought out and feasible development roadmap.
  • The applicant clearly describes their milestones and an appropriate payment schedule.

Criteria 4: Finances

  • The applicant shows a clear overview and explanation of the expected costs of the work to be undertaken, giving confidence that the project will be delivered within budget.

Criteria 5: Team and Expertise

  • The team shows the relevant capabilities and technical experience needed to develop and deliver the proposed proof-of-concept.

Expectations and obligations

The selected startup will have 13 weeks to develop a proof-of-concept that can help RAICo automate their data access and analysis, generate insights, improve the way they share and visualise data, and allow them to make better use of data to help support the planning and forecasting of work. The selected company will also be expected to showcase their concept on site at the RAICo robotics lab in West Cumbria, in addition to submitting a report on the proof-of-concepts, its benefits and further possibilities and opportunities.

What are the programme obligations?

  • Attend the onboarding kick-off event during the week commencing 11th December 2023 (location to be agreed during contracting).
  • Attend an initial workshop to clarify the scope of development work, ways of working and timelines, in addition to submission of a schedule of work to be undertaken.
  • Attend weekly progress meetings with the RAICo team and provide updates and demonstrations of progress.
  • Provide transparent access to development progress, data use, work remaining, and any similar information to help RAICo provide support during the weekly meetings.
  • Provide feedback on proof-of-concept development with RAICo.
  • Build a demonstrator that addresses the challenge.
  • Present the concept at a final demo day at the end of the development phase, in March 2024.
  • Show how the concept complies with regulations/requirements for implementation, and fits with wider RAICo work.
  • Submit a final report on the developed proof-of-concept and expected benefits.
  • Clearly communicate the proof-of-concept’s cost-benefits, value-for-money, and improvement to processes.

Q&A Webinar

If you are interested in the Decommissioning Data Challenge and would like to learn more about the programme, please watch our recorded webinar to hear more about:

  • The programme, its goals, and ambitions.
  • What resources and support are offered.
  • The organisations and people involved.
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