The Technology Readiness Levels which the Game Changers Innovation Programme (and Sellafield) are interested in are TRL2 to TRL6.

These stages cover projects from research to feasibility and technology development through to demonstration of the technology.

Game Changers proof of concept funding is applicable from TRL2 to TRL4.  Projects which reach TRL4 and successfully demonstrate applicability to Sellafield may then be supported to secure additional investment from Sellafield or external bodies such as NNL, the Tier 2 supply chain, Innovate UK etc.

TRL 1 (basic research) would be too early in the technology development for our involvement and, likewise, TRL 7-9 would be where we expect to have helped introduce further support and/or funding.

In the Game Changers Application Form, we request that you state what TRL your project currently stands at; should you be unsure, please provide a short explanation and we can discuss this with you further.

Guide to Technology Readiness Levels for the NDA Estate and its Supply Chain


In the context of nuclear clean-up, the TRL definitions are:

This refers to a technological process, method, or technique such as machinery, equipment or software needed for the plant, facility or process to achieve its purpose.

This refers to time. Specifically it means ready for operations at the present time.

This refers to the level of maturity of equipment. Equipment that is already being used for the same function in the same environment has a higher level of maturity than equipment that is still being developed. The levels are a nine-point scale based on a qualitative assessment of maturity.

Technology Readiness Level (TRL) measures how ready equipment is for use
now in an operating plant.

Items that are not directly associated with plant operations do not have TRLs. That means that not all R&D activities can be assigned a TRL. Work that is being carried out to support technology development such as front end studies, optioneering studies, report writing, simulations, modelling, etc. do not have TRLs. They may use TRLs in their assessments but the work package itself does not have a TRL.

  • TRLs are time specific. Technologies are assessed based on their introduction into an operating plant at the present time. They explain what risk there might be if the technology is to be used today. They do not necessarily convey accurate information about the future.
  • TRLs are context specific. A technology that is mature in one operating plant cannot be assumed to be as mature in a different one. Even those that appear the same might have significantly different operating conditions.
  • The TRL scale is an ordinal scale. The ratings are in order but the
    distinction between neighbouring points on the scale is not necessarily always the same. You cannot for instance infer that it “only takes about 10% of effort to move from one level to another level. It is not a “grade”.
  • The TRL scale is qualitative, not quantitative. It is textual not numerical. Although it is common to refer to the numbers, you cannot use the numbers arithmetically. You can’t for instance say that TRL8 is twice TRL4 or that an average of TRL4 and TRL6 is TRL5.

This content has been reproduced under the Open Government Licence v3.0