Chair in Decommissioning Engineering

Lead Research Organisation: University of Manchester
Department Name: Mechanical Aerospace and Civil Eng


The proposed research will develop generic knowledge in the field of decommissioning engineering that can be used to solve problems associated with nuclear decommissioning. The work will be carried out under the auspices of the Dalton Institute of the University of Manchester and thus a multi-disciplinary approach to the research will be facilitated. Existing nuclear facilities (eg. Magnox, AGR Station, Reprocessing plant, medical waste) present significant challenges with respect to waste management and decommissioning. The research programme will expand and enhance the skill base in nuclear engineering and science in order to meet these challenges. Additionally, the research will provide valuable information for use in future generations of nuclear facilities so as to reduce decommissioning and waste management problems.The impact of the new Chair appointment will be enhanced by interactions with the already established links with industry and in particular with BNFL. Furthermore, the appointee will contribute to the training of research scientists, in an area of research where the demands of industry substantially exceed the availability of individuals with appropriate expertise.


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Leay L (2015) Development of irradiation capabilities to address the challenges of the nuclear industry in Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section B: Beam Interactions with Materials and Atoms

Description This project enabled the current state of the art technology deployed in the nuclear decommissioning industry to be identified and for limitations with this technology to be determined. To address these limitations various prototype robotic and non-destructive testing tools have been developed and their use in active nuclear facilities is being investigated.
Exploitation Route The findings of this project are being exploited by University of Manchester, Sellafield Ltd and National Nuclear Laboratories in developing a centre of excellence for nuclear decommissioning technology in West Cumbria.
Sectors Energy

Description The project led to considerable engagement with the nuclear decommissioning industry in West Cumbria and resulted in the creation of a nuclear engineering decommissioning group, based in West Cumbria that comprises 4 academic members of staff, approximately 5 PDRAs and 10 PhD students. There have been several follow-on projects, funded by research councils, TSB and industry that have led to robotics based projects that are delivering impact to the Sellafield site. The robotics work has been consolidated with the creation of a robotics group that works between the University of Manchester's Dalton Cumbrian Facility and NNL's rig-hall in Workington. This group is providing a link between academic research conducted across the UK and deployment of this technology on to the Sellafield site. Furthermore, as a follow on to this project, the Regional Growth Fund and Britain's Energy Coast have provided £1.5m of funding for the Innovus programme (, which is providing significant economic benefit to Cumbria.
First Year Of Impact 2011
Sector Energy
Impact Types Societal,Economic

Description EPSRC Windfall Grant
Amount £31,207 (GBP)
Funding ID Windfall grant available at University of Manchester 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 08/2011 
End 06/2012
Description Funding from Nuclear Decommissioning Authority
Amount £10,000,000 (GBP)
Organisation Nuclear Decommissioning Authority NDA 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 08/2011 
End 09/2015
Description Industrial Funding for Decommissioning Robotics Work
Amount £360,000 (GBP)
Organisation Sellafield Ltd 
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom
Start 08/2015 
End 09/2018
Description TORONE
Amount £1,284,072 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/P018505/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 02/2017 
End 02/2020
Description programme grant
Amount £4,650,283 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/P01366X/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 02/2017 
End 01/2022