Game Changers challenge: Non-destructive inspection of redundant flasks

Sellafield is looking for a solution that can analyse contents of large radioactive containers without moving or damaging them.

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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Sellafield Ltd requires a precise understanding of the inventory on-site to support the clean-up and disposal of legacy materials. This includes a stock of over 200 flasks – large metal structures with thick walls that shield radiation. Flasks have been used widely across the Sellafield site to store and transport radioactive materials. The flasks vary significantly in dimensions, mass, age and radioactivity levels (dimensions range from 400mm – 1550mm tall and 600mm – 7690mm wide: they may be a cube, cuboid or cylindrical). Sellafield Ltd is looking for solutions that can verify the contents of each flask, including radiometric characterisation, without the flask being moved or damaged.

  • 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.

  • There are two aspects required for the solution:

    Identify the flask contents

    (in order of priority)

    1. Identify the presence of any remaining spent fuel/fuel debris
    2. Identify the presence of any liquids/sludge
    3. Identify the presence of any other solids (i.e. flask furniture)
    4. Locate any solid, liquid or sludge within the flask
    5. Quantify any solid, liquid or sludge within the flask

    Radiometric characterisation

    (in order of priority)

    1. Estimate the maximum dose rate expected if the flask lid was opened (the maximum dose rate criterion for R3 areas would normally be 100 μSv/h beta gamma)
    2. Have limits of detection that enable the measurement of the internal loose surface contamination down to 40.0 Bq/cm² α or 400 Bq/cm2 β, and the airborne contamination down to 1.0 DAC (Derived Airbourne Concentration)
    3. Confirm that the radioactive fingerprint is credible (if it aligns to a known fingerprint)
    4. Determine total activity in Bq and specific activity in Bq/g (where the mass of the flask is known)
    5. Indicate location of hotspots of radiation and contamination
    6. Provide information on whether contamination is airborne, on the surface, or has penetrated the material

    This is a complex challenge and Sellafield Ltd is interested in technologies that provide either whole or partial solutions. In addition, it is key that any proposed solutions:

    • Are suitable for use with a wide variety of flask types, and not be limited to specific dimensions, materials or conditions
    • Work in situ, without the flask being moved
    • Work inside buildings or outside in the open
    • Are transportable in a lift approximately 1200 x 1000mm, with a 2.5Te weight limit
    • Only act on the outside of the flasks, which must not be opened during the inspection
  • An interactive webinar will take place at 10:30am on 8th February 2024 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.

    Please download the challenge statement for full details of this opportunity.

    For further enquiries, contact Ray Chegwin, KTM for Nuclear.


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