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News - November 2016

A World First - Laser Cutting for Nuclear Decommissioning at Sellafield

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During July and August 2016, the LaserSnake (integrated snake-arm robot and laser cutting technologies) system successfully completed a world first, active deployment in a cell in the First Generation Reprocessing Plant at Sellafield – size reducing a dissolver vessel.

Deployed by OC Robotics and TWI in conjunction with Sellafield, LaserSnake proved itself to be a versatile system for in-situ nuclear decommissioning tasks.

In November 2016, the LaserSnake project won the Technology/Innovation Implementation Award at the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority Supply Chain Awards, recognising the innovation and collaboration required to take technology innovation through to successful implementation at a Site License Company.

The LaserSnake demonstration at Sellafield has been highly rewarding and very successful. Not only has it enabled a potentially game-changing technology to be tried, tested and proven on a real nuclear decommissioning scenario, but it has also shown the benefit of a collaborative approach between the supply chain and a site operator. This enabled the research and development funding to achieve a highly successful outcome which may otherwise not have been achieved.”

Chris Hope, Future Decommissioning Team Manager, Sellafield

The LaserSnake activity at Sellafield marked the successful end of a four year project. For TWI, the technology developed and the knowledge gained will be directly transferrable to many decommissioning applications, both in the nuclear and other sectors. The fact that the work has already been the subject of innovation awards, shows the ground-breaking nature of this project

Paul Hilton, Technology Fellow for Laser Material Processing, TWI

Working with our partners we have overcome many engineering challenges to achieve this world first in remote laser cutting, and we are absolutely delighted to have won the NDA Supply Chain Award.

Craig Wilson, Managing Director, OC Robotics