Autonomous transportation of nuclear materials

Sellafield Ltd is building new long-term facilities to safely and securely store nuclear inventory. Once operational, the new storage facilities will receive packages from a number of legacy stores across the Sellafield site, significantly increasing the number of waste package journeys, from monthly to daily. Investing in automated processes to transport waste and product packages across the Sellafield site will reduce the reliance on driver and vehicle availability. Automating the transfers will improve overall capability to increase Sellafield’s transfer activities in the coming years.


Sellafield Ltd is planning to bring the new storage facility into active commission within 5 years. A solution to fully automate package transfers without the reliance on manual methods is desirable within this timeframe. Sellafield Ltd is looking for a prototype or high-level concept (or combination thereof) in the first instance, with the opportunity for further development to Proof of Concept (PoC) through the Game Changers programme, completing before April 2025. The concept must be able to cope with the increased frequency of journeys. Successful operation is paramount, and any solution must provide constant communications with a base (and ensure communications with CNC). If the solution were to break down, then the solution must be capable of flagging a change in its status to base. Safeguarding of the transfers must be manageable and an eye on approach through the use of technology such as cameras must be available continuously to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements (at all times).

Additionally, it is an aspiration to have an intelligent transport system that can understand the overall layout of the Sellafield site in order to service various plants and stores and have the capability to understand obstacles and road closures, as well as navigating and abiding with unmarked crossroads and pedestrian crossings. The Sellafield site is unique in its layout and much of the typical road signage you would commonly see on highways is not always present in some less populated areas of the site.

Sellafield Ltd is interested in receiving applications from organisations capable of delivering a full system. Applications outlining how sub-systems of an intelligent delivery system could be implemented are also of interest; for example, the provision of video analytics that could help to identify pedestrians.


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

You can watch a webinar and Q&A session with the challenge owners for more information and details of how to apply.

The deadline for applications for this challenge is 6pm on Thursday 30th November 2023.

National Nuclear Laboratory

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