Our role in Research and Development (R&D)
Our remit, as stipulated in The Energy Act 2004, is to promote, and where necessary fund, generic research relevant to nuclear clean-up.
Applying appropriate and innovative technology to accelerate and deliver clean-up programmes is critical for us to achieve our main objective and mission. We promote innovation and concept development from the supply chain to meet the many challenges faced by both the NDA and the Site Licence Companies (SLCs). This is achieved either indirectly through the supply chain collaborating with our Direct Research Portfolio (DRP) Framework contractors or directly through our Concepts and Technology Demonstration Projects.
How we identify required R&D
We consider R&D investment required both directly via NDA and indirectly through seven Site Licence Companies to ensure appropriate delivery of Lifetime Plans (LTP) and maximise the return on the investment made.
Each site provides a proposed high level technical baseline that underpins their decommissioning and clean-up activities included in their Lifetime Plan. They also identify technology gaps and opportunities in the technical baselines.
Click here to see links to Technical Baselines Underpinning Research and Development (TBuRD)
We categorise R&D in three key areas:
1. The 'needs' – providing solutions to known and common issues
2. The 'risks' – providing options to avoid or mitigate the risks
3. The 'opportunities' – delivering innovative improvements to the Lifetime Plans to achieve the NDA's mission
Investment in technology is targeted at priority areas, with common issues and requirements identified, achieving solutions on a broader scale. We compare and contrast plans from different sites and evaluate commonalities, differences and potential omissions. We then share the 'NDA R&D Needs, Risks and Opportunities' across the entire technical supply chain.
Directly funded R&D
Our research is categorised into three sections.
- Direct Research Portfolio
Our Direct Research Portfolio (DRP) informs the development of the NDA strategy and maintains key research skills fundamental to our mission. It addresses generic multi-site needs, risks and opportunities identified from analysing the SLC's Technical Baseline and underpinning Research and Development (TBuRD) documents. The research and development we carry out is complex and challenging. We manage the risks inherent in the programme by following the NDA's guiding principles:
- completing the work to the highest environmental, security and safety standards;
- achieving best value for money consistent with those standards;
- operating with openness and transparency; and
- developing competitive markets for decommissioning and clean-up contracts, driving innovation and ensuring the best possible use of available skills.
The DRP is divided into four framework contracts which we advertise via the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU). See table below for description of frameworks and the currently awarded contracts.
Lot Number Framework Description Organisation Awarded Contract in 2008
To establish and pro-actively manage NDA interactions with the universities, and subsequent transfer of output, in terms of knowledge/capability, to the SLCs.
National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL); Serco
To conduct research into processing of waste, recycle/reuse, storage, and plant termination and decommissioning.
Hyder Consulting Consortium; UKAEA Consortium; NNL
To investigate issues associated with the characterisation of radioactive materials for treatment and disposal.
NNL; Serco; UKAEA Consortium
Actinide and Strategic Materials
To investigate issues associated with the management of actinide and strategic nuclear waste.
NNL; UKAEA Consortium
- Concept Work
These are small scale innovation projects with an overall cost of <£50k.
These projects are designed to promote innovation and concept development from within the supply chain to meet the challenges the NDA and the SLCs face. Concept projects might require a medium to long term view of potential deployment, however ideas which could be applied in the short to medium term have been taken up previously. Projects must be generic or multi-site and must represent an innovative approach to that identified in the technical baseline of an SLC programme.
- Technology Demonstration Project
Large-scale (<£1million) demonstration project of an existing technology.
These projects are designed to demonstrate an already existing technology. The technology demonstration projects look at nearer term opportunities to deliver innovative technology through technology demonstrations. This might involve a novel or immature technology that needs further development or alignment with the nuclear environment. The technology that is being demonstrated should have the potential to be deployed into an SLC technical baseline to yield significant benefit. These projects must be generic or multi-site and must represent a realistic alternative and innovative approach to that identified in the technical baseline of an SLC technical programme.
Indirectly funded R&D
For more information on research and development funding via Site Licence Companies, see their websites: