Game Changers challenge: Identifying deformities in 500L drums

FIS360’s Game Changers nuclear industry innovation programme seeks a method of inspecting radioactive waste drums.

Opportunity Details


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Feasibility grant of up to £10k (100% funding) for an 8-12 week project; if this shows promise, proof-of-concept funding of £30k-£60k (with some match funding requirements) is available for a longer follow-on 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 particular challenge for Sellafield Ltd is focused on 500L stainless steel drums in which uranium containing waste is stored. A method is required for accurately measuring all dimensions of the waste drums and identifying any deformities. The drums are contained within stillages, and Sellafield Ltd would prefer to be able to obtain drum measurements whilst they remain in their stillage. It is also preferred that any proposed solutions are radiation tolerant and able to fit within the confined space available within an inspection facility. Alternatively, solutions would need to be deployed through a multi-layered, lead glass shield window. The ability to conduct accurate drum inspections will give Sellafield Ltd greater confidence in their understanding of the evolution of the stored waste. This will reduce how frequently future inspections and interventions are required.

Any method of identifying expansion of drums prior to their removal from their stillage would be highly desirable. This would provide confidence that drums would fit back into the stillage following their removal for inspection.

Sellafield Ltd are open to solutions that are deployed from either within or through the window of a drum inspection facility, although preference would be for a solution deployed within the inspection facility. The components of a solution that would be deployed within an inspection facility must be extremely radiation tolerant (see constraints).

Any proposed solution should identify any distortions and be capable of measuring the following dimensions of a drum:

  • Vertical height
  • Circumference
  • Width from the vertical centre line

Sellafield Ltd are seeking solutions that can:

  • Assess around 10 stillages (40 drums) within a 2-week window
  • Complete a single drum inspection within an hour
  • Ideally demonstrate a prototype to Sellafield Ltd within 3 months from the closing date of this challenge
  • Be capable of active deployment within 12 – 18 months

A challenge webinar will take place at 10.30am on 14th September 2023 where delegates will have the chance to hear directly from the challenge owners and ask questions. Attendance is free: click here to register via Eventbrite.  The closing date for applications is Thursday 28th September.

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 below.


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