RAIN researchers awarded two National Nuclear User Facility grants

Successes within the RAIN Hub have solidified bids for additional funding to extend our work in essential areas. RAIN researchers have been awarded two grants from the National Nuclear User Facility (NNUF) fund, from UK Research and Innovation, to support new and unique research facilities.

RAIN supported the secondment of a researcher to ETH Zurich in 2018 to obtain extraordinarily low-level assessments of plutonium residues in soils, with the intention of integrating this information to the design of an autonomous platform for the retrieval of soil samples from contaminated land areas.  This resulted in a very positive collaboration with this leading Swiss university and a proposal to the NNUF phase 2 call for the UK to acquire its own trace analysis system (accelerator mass spectrometer) which was funded, at a level of £3.6M total including £720k contribution from Lancaster University.  This will be the only, actinides-sensitive facility in the UK and a national asset in the context of trace radionuclide assessment in the natural environment.

RAIN has focused on demonstrations and deployments, including first of a kind trials on Sellafield site. Demonstrating that innovative technology is safe and reliable is essential before it can be trusted to perform tasks in hazardous environments. Highlighting the power of demonstrations was key to three RAIN partners, the University of Manchester, the University of Bristol and UKAEA’s Remote Applications for Challenging Environments (RACE) Centre, in collaboration with the National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) being awarded £7 million to establish a new NNUF for Hot Robotics (NNUF-HR). The NNUF-HR will build on existing infrastructure and research capabilities in four UK locations, specifically chosen for their proximity to key nuclear sites.

There are three upcoming town-hall meetings for interested parties to become a participating user of NNUF-HR. This facility will provide a significant opportunity for researchers to gain access to cutting-edge robotics equipment to support their research and development.

Bristol Town Hall meeting
December 17 2019
10:30am – 3:00pm
Bristol Robotics Laboratory

Warrington Town Hall meeting
January 7th 2020
10:30am-3pm
Engine Rooms, Birchwood

Cumbria Town Hall meeting
Friday 17 January 2020
10.30am – 3.00pm
Cumbria LEP Conference Centre

We are recruiting a project manager for the NNUF-HR project, based in Cumbria or Manchester, and starting in the New Year