An initiative funded by the U.K. Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council is intended to make advanced robotics technologies, drones and testing facilities available for nuclear research to benefit nuclear sector supply chain, decommissioning and other issues.

Four National Nuclear User Facility for Hot Robotics (NNUF-HR) sites will support researchers from both academia and industry in conducting impactful nuclear research. These sites encompass the University of Bristol’s Fenswood Facility in Somerset, the RACE (Remote Applications in Challenging Environments) at the U.K. Atomic Energy Authority facility at Culham in Oxfordshire, the University of Manchester’s RAICo One in Whitehaven and the National Nuclear Laboratory’s Workington Facility in Cumbria.

The technology, test spaces and technical support offered at each site would otherwise be very difficult or expensive to access. Users can hire cutting-edge equipment, including quadruped robots and unmanned aerial vehicles, to use on-site or at their own locations. Researchers can also bring their own technology to test in different simulated environments and mock-up rigs.

While the facilities are available for use by the U.K. nuclear energy R&D community, academic researchers can access equipment from the NNUF facilities for free through the Access Scheme Fund, which runs quarterly application rounds.

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