Sellafield seeks oil and gas decommissioning expertise

Posted on: 01/05/2018

The Game Changers Innovation Programme have announced the next event in support of Sellafield’s decommissioning mission.

As part of an open call for innovation, the Game Changers Programme are inviting businesses to attend an event to learn how their oil and gas decommissioning expertise could be translated to meet the challenges faced at Sellafield.

Innovation in Nuclear Post Operational Clean Out (POCO) will be held on Wednesday 16th May 2018, at the University of Strathclyde’s Technology and Innovation Centre, George Street, Glasgow.

Nuclear operations began at Sellafield in the 1940s.  For most of its existence the main business focus at the site has been reprocessing, but over the next two years these activities will come to an end.  Focus will then shift to a Post Operational Clean Out Phase (POCO) before decommissioning can begin.  This will require highly innovative technologies, concepts and methods.

Sellafield has set up the Game Changers programme to help meet these unprecedented challenges.  The programme aims to engage businesses, academics and individuals to find solutions that will speed up the safe delivery of decommissioning, cut costs and uphold commitment to human and environmental safety.

The event in Glasgow will give delegates the opportunity to hear presentations from Sellafield personnel, take part in interactive workshops and to learn about the POCO challenge in greater detail.

Keynote speakers have been confirmed as Steve Hepworth, Technical Lead (R&D) at Sellafield, and David Connolly, Head of Site Post Operational Clean Out at Sellafield.

Paul Knight, Game Changers Programme lead said: “This is a hugely exciting opportunity for oil and gas decommissioning experts to bid for funding to translate their technology to the nuclear sector.

“We’re looking for cutting edge solutions to this challenging task and would fully expect them to be applicable to other nuclear decommissioning challenges, both in the UK and overseas.”

The areas of interest Sellafield would like to explore are:


  • Alternative cell and vessel access
  • Remote handling and navigation techniques
  • Reduced human intervention



  • Deployment of innovative technologies for visual, physical and radiological characterisation
  • Material identification ‚Äì solids (which may be loose or adhered), solvents and engrained activity
  • The location and assessment of radiation dose i.e. ‚Äòhot spots‚Äô



  • The use of new reagents to aid dissolution of insoluble materials and deposits contained in tanks
  • Alternative techniques to mobilise solids, solvents, adhered and engrained material



  • The use of retrieval and disposal tools, and techniques
  • In-situ storage and grouting applications
  • Shielding and containment technologies


Who should attend the POCO challenge event?

Any individual, SME or large organisation with new ideas or innovations which can be applied to address the Sellafield POCO challenges are welcome to attend.

Previous experience in the nuclear sector is not a prerequisite and delegates are welcome from all industry sectors, particularly:

  • Oil, Gas and Subsea
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Pharmaceutical and Food Chemical Engineering
  • Defence


Register for the event.

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