The partnership approach – A team from Createc is working with partners in Costain to create a contamination measurement technique with the potential to offer huge savings on nuclear decommissioning costs.

The customer – The nuclear decommissioning industry and specialist waste management contractors.

The customers problem – The classification of concrete nuclear wastes is hard to predict and currently only impractical destructive methods are available to measure it accurately.  Sub-optimal waste classification during a decommissioning project can increase waste management costs up to 30 fold.

During decommissioning, our customers need to be able to work out accurately and rapidly exactly where the waste classification boundary sits so that waste volume can be minimised.

Our view of the problem

This is all about seeing beneath the surface and seeing differently.  The radiation coming out of the surface has the history of its journey through the concrete embedded in it in the form of ‘scatter’. To most, this scatter is an unwanted contaminant in a measurement, but we realised it contained the very information we needed.

Our solutionWe are using our sensor and image analysis expertise to work with Costain to create a non-invasive measurement technique that will profile the depth and degree of radioactive contamination up to a depth of 100mm.

The client can get real-time results to inform decommissioning decisions and the production of an accurate contamination profile allows optimal segregation of the wastes, minimising waste management costs.

The team – Dave Clark has led on this project with Matt Mellor and Alan Shippen from Createc and working with the nuclear team at Costain.

What happened next?

The initial stages of this partnership project have been completed and the D:EEP technique is now being applied and commercialised by the team at Costain.  Createc’s input to the innovation is continuing through the validation and deployment stages – there are still problems to understand and solve and still details of the technology to be refined.

“That’s what we do.  Createc is about the ideas and innovation, taking technology and applying it to a different problem.  Once we have the principles in place and we know it works, we look for partners with connections in the market to work with us to turn our innovation into a commercial product.”   Matt Mellor