POCO Challenge Briefing Event – May 16, Glasgow

The Game Changers Innovation Programme have announced the next challenge-led briefing event in support of Sellafield’s decommissioning mission.

Innovation in Post Operational Clean Out (POCO) will be held on Wednesday 16th May at the University of Strathclyde’s Technology and Innovation Centre in Glasgow.

Download the POCO call for innovation / challenge statement (PDF)

Register for this event (via Eventbrite)

NNL’s Paul Knight, Game Changers’ programme lead: “The main business focus of Sellafield for most of its existence has been reprocessing but, over the next two years, these activities will come to an end and the focus will shift to a POCO phase before decommissioning operations can begin.”

Post Operational Clean Out is the process that takes place when a nuclear plant has reached the end of its operating life. The aim of POCO is to reduce the risk and hazard in a facility by removing the nuclear inventory and reducing the lifetime costs of the redundant plants.

“In simple terms, POCO gets the plant as radiologically clean as possible which, as a result, reduces the risk and hazard. Another key benefit of successful POCO is that it makes the plant cheaper to care for.” continues Paul, “It is estimated that the cost benefit of POCO could be a potential saving of £1.8bn across the life span of three key reprocessing facilities at Sellafield.  At least 87 facilities are due to undergo POCO over the next 40 years.”

This event is an open call for innovation and will follow the same highly successful format of previous engagement days, with keynote presentations followed by interactive workshops where delegates are able to hear presentations from Sellafield personnel and discuss specifics of the challenge in greater detail.

“Previous Game Changers events in Manchester, Rotherham, London and Glasgow have all been very well attended, with delegates from diverse industry sectors and academia.” comments Frank Allison, Managing Director of FIS360, a delivery partner of the Game Changers Innovation Programme.

“Feedback from delegates has been very positive with many appreciating the chance to hear from Sellafield personnel, directly engaging and ‘interrogating’ the challenges before making their applications to the initiative.”

The Game Changers team are also delighted to announce Subsea UK (www.subseauk.com) as event partners.

“Subsea UK represents the interests of more than 300 member organisations and we are thrilled to have their involvement in this event.” adds Jo Tunney, Technology Associate at FIS360.

“The subsea industry has much in common with nuclear – specifically complex decommissioning in harsh environments – and we are certain that there are elements of the POCO challenges that will be of interest to Subsea UK’s members and associates. Along with potential for collaboration, diversification and technology development, nuclear decommissioning can be a great opportunity for businesses involved in subsea.”

Previous events have attracted over 400 delegates representing more than 270 different organisations. In excess of 170 applications to the Game Changers Innovation Programme have been received with 70 being supported with initial funding and 9 subsequently progressing to proof of concept stages and attracting further investment.

Keynote speakers have been confirmed as Sellafield’s Steve Hepworth, Technical Lead (R&D), and David Connolly, Head of Site Post Operational Clean Out.


Who should attend the POCO challenge event?

Any individual, SME or large organisation with new ideas or innovations which can be applied to address the Sellafield POCO challenges are welcome to attend.

Previous experience in the nuclear sector is not a prerequisite and we welcome delegates from all industry sectors, particularly:

  • Oil, Gas and Subsea
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Pharmaceutical and Food Chemical Engineering
  • Defence

Attendance at the event is free and you can register your place at innovation-in-poco.eventbrite.co.uk