Game Changers challenge: Automated Alpha In-Air Monitoring

FIS360 are running this challenge on behalf of Sellafield who would like to find an organisation who can develop an automated low-maintenance system to detect alpha radiation.

Opportunity Details


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Feasibility funding of up to £10,000 for initial exploration of ideas (100% funded). Proof of Concept (PoC) funding is awarded on a match‐funded basis (up to 70% funded for businesses, can be 100% for non-profits), generally £30k-£60k for a 6-12 months project.



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Innovate UK KTN is supporting FIS360 in the promotion of the Game Changers innovation programme, which finds solutions for complex nuclear industry challenges. This challenge is to detect alpha radiation using an automated low-maintenance system.

Alpha radiation is the most ionising type of radiation, making it extremely harmful to humans. Sellafield Ltd must have the ability to detect any airborne alpha radiation on-site in order to be alert to loss of containment and to keep personnel safe.

There are several types of radioactivity in-air monitors used on the Sellafield site, but they all use the same basic principle of operation. The current monitoring systems require regular maintenance and often go into alarm status because of blocked filter media at the air intake. This results in access to areas being restricted unnecessarily. Sellafield Ltd would like to explore the possibility of implementing a fully automated monitoring system that does not require frequent, routine maintenance and allows operators to discern between genuine alpha radiation detected alarm states and other alarm states due to reduced airflow and other factors.

Challenge aims

Sellafield Ltd is seeking an airborne alpha monitoring system that:

  • Can cope with a dusty environment
  • Has an alarm output that allows the operator to distinguish between the genuine detection of alpha or beta radiation and reduced airflow or any other false alarm states
  • Reports its status digitally to a central location
  • Can act as a first-line defence against alpha or beta contamination and provide reliable safety assurance for operations
  • Can compensate for the presence of naturally occurring radon

Sellafield Ltd is aiming to discover the ‘art-of-the-possible’ rather than alternative commercially available products. The ultimate aim is to install a maintenance-free system that requires no intervention.

Briefing webinar

A challenge webinar will take place at 2pm on 15 November 2023 where delegates will have the chance to hear directly from the challenge owners and ask any questions. Attendance is free and registration is via Eventbrite.

The closing date for applications is 6pm on the 30 November 2023.

More information about the funding process

Frequently asked questions, including further details of the available funding

Eligibility: Any organisation of any size can apply for funding through Game Changers including SMEs, Higher Education Institutions, Research and Technology Organisations and public bodies. Companies who apply for funding must be registered with Companies House. International organisations can also apply for funding. Certain exemptions may apply depending on the nature of the challenge.

More information and a detailed challenge statement can be found on the Game Changers website at the link below.


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