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Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Japanese delegation amazed by Cumbrian technology

Hitachi delegation
Caption: The Hitachi delegation from Japan met with the management team and researchers of REACT Engineering (Steve Wood, centre) and Createc (Matt Mellor to right of SW).

Japanese nuclear experts have described technology from two Cumbrian companies as ‘a masterpiece in the attic’ after visiting last month.

The delegation of nuclear decommissioning experts from Hitachi were impressed by technology developed by REACT Engineering in Cleator Moor, and Createc of Cockermouth.

The next steps could see Cumbrian innovation helping with nuclear decommissioning on the other side of the world.

Hitachi has been working with the Japanese government to find ways of cleaning up Fukishima and other nuclear power plants, following the 2011 tsunami and earthquake.

REACT Engineering MD Steve Wood said: “We first had contact with the team at Hitachi back in April through connections with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.

“We were delighted when they asked to see us and find out more about our technology as part of a Cumbrian visit last month.

“We’ve now concluded contract negotiations with Hitachi about funding a specific prototype for their situation.”

“Hitachi scientists and engineers are looking for the best available technology to help do this safely and effectively and they seemed to find just what they’re looking for here in Cumbria.”

The sophisticated technology involved is called N-Visage, and it was developed by Createc and REACT Engineering.

It combines the latest sensor developments with nuclear expertise and 3D-computer modelling to show operators the dose levels in different parts of a nuclear environment.

They can then programme in a variety of approaches to clean up and are able to “see” how these would affect the dose levels of radiation and enable safer working.

Createc are now looking at ways to adapt the technology, partly funded by the UK Technology Strategy Board and with support from the NDA.

Trevor Craig, one of the REACT, and Createc, founding directors added: “The team from Hitachi were very excited as they hadn’t seen anything quite like our N-Visage system anywhere else in the world.”

“They actually said that they were surprised to find such innovative technology and ideas here in Cumbria. One of the delegation described it as like finding a rare Picasso painting in the attic!”

REACT Engineering now has a contract for a significant investment in developing an N-VisageTM system specifically for the Hitachi team. There will then be further investigations and tests in the UK and Japan.

This could result in a major contract in the coming year, as well as recognition for two Cumbrian companies that are contributing innovative approaches to the highest profile nuclear clean up in the world.

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