UKAEA’s RACE facility is a major partner in a consortium that has been awarded £11.9m of Government funding to undertake world-leading research into robotic and autonomous technologies for the nuclear industry.
The Robotics and Artificial Intelligence for Nuclear (RAIN) project is led by the University of Manchester with RACE joining the Universities of Oxford, Liverpool, Bristol, Sheffield, Nottingham and Lancaster as project partners. It will create a community to develop innovative technologies to address challenges across the whole nuclear industry, with strong links to end users (including Sellafield Ltd, EDF and Rolls Royce), the nuclear supply chain (including Jacobs and Createc) and international collaborators from the USA, Japan and Italy.
RACE will lead on one of the main project themes (architecture, integration and standards), investigating how the challenging environments in the nuclear industry can be assessed and measured and how communications with remote equipment can be made as robust and simple as possible – expertise that RACE has in abundance from remote handling inside JET. RACE will also play a role in all six of the other themes, including robotics operation and inspection, demonstration and testing and human-robot interaction and training.
RAIN is one of four robotics ‘hubs’ managed by EPSRC, with funding provided by the UK Government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. The hubs cover robotics development in the offshore energy, nuclear energy and space sectors, by enabling close collaboration between academia and industry.
RACE Director, Rob Buckingham, commented: “RAIN brings together nuclear fission and fusion: new build, life extension and decommissioning. We will work closely with all the EPSRC hubs to maximise the impact for the UK economy, both addressing known challenges and creating new opportunities.”
For more information please visit www.rainhub.org.uk