Dr Matt Mellor, director of Createc and based on the Derwent Mill Commercial Park in Cockermouth, has been involved since the first contacts on this project. He said: “Createc has a recognised expertise in gamma radiation sensing, measurement and modelling and we’ve been working with the Mitsubishi team for a while.
“This new contract covers the concept and early stage research and development for a suite of sensors. If all goes well, these sensors will then be commissioned for use at Fukushima to locate and quantify the fuel debris in the primary containment vessels on the tsunami-damaged site.”
Createc has worked on other nuclear decommissioning sites, including Sellafield in Cumbria, and has benefitted from the close UK-Japan relationships fostered by the export agency, UKTI, the NDA (Nuclear Decommissioning Authority) and Sellafield Ltd.
Fukushima offers particular challenges with very high radiation levels and high humidity plus the need for the sensors to be used underwater in some areas of the plant.
Matt said: “We all hope that Fukushima will be a unique environment as no one would want to see a repeat of what happened there. However, we’re aware that the technology that we’re developing could be ideal for use in any future fusion (as opposed to nuclear fission) reactors as that approach moves from pilot plants to commercial developments in the coming years.”
Createc is the only partner working with Mitsubishi on the sensor development aspect of the Fukushima project and it is great recognition of the Cumbria-based team’s ideas.
Createc director, Trevor Craig, said: “We have built a reputation in several sectors, including nuclear, for genuinely innovative sensor solutions, and the Japanese connections are strong after several months of travel, meetings and discussions with the people working at Fukushima.
“We reckon that Createc team members have probably spent more than six months in Japan so far and have travelled over 120,000 miles and we’re anticipating more to come as this project takes shape.”
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