ANRC at the NDA Innovation and Technology Roadshow, June 2023 - Strathclyde

Focussing on the NDA’s approach to technology and its partnership with Universities and the research community, this event took place at the University of Strathclyde Technology & Innovation Centre on 28 June 2023, supported by Strathclyde and the ANRC. 

It was designed

  • for stakeholders to find out more about the NDA’s commitment to innovation, research, and supporting academic partnerships, and how  it is using innovation to speed up its mission
  • to provide a platform for community stakeholders to engage with the NDA and its academic partners
  • as a reach out to younger audiences by inviting students and researchers to participate in the event


Strathclyde has a healthy track record of technological research work for NDA subsidiaries in a number of areas over the years, with hyperspectral imaging and analysis for Sellafield being a particular area of recent interest.  Over the coming years Strathclyde plans to work closely with NDA and its subsidiaries to address the multi-faceted challenges of decommissioning in the UK, and seek out synergies with other parts of the energy system where dealing with end of life issues for high value, complex and regulated assets present particular challenges and opportunities for Scotland and the rest of the UK. 

"The NDA are thought leaders in using national programmes to generate direct and wider societal and economic benefits - the opportunity for the academic sector and the NDA industrial partners is to create new models of working together to accelerate this process". Professor Graham Wren 

Our key takeaways from the event:

  •  NDA are strongly motivated to drive innovation.  The projected total cost (over decades) of decommissioning today’s end of life nuclear assets is £170Bn and has been increasing at a 7.5%pa level for the past 30 years.  This is unsustainable, and innovation is needed to drive £billions out of that overall cost to the taxpayer.
  • The ability to retain and attract talent to the nuclear sector is an issue.  The remoteness of some nuclear sites makes it difficult to have confidence in capability and capacity of resources.  Collaboration and sharing of innovation, technology and people between offshore and nuclear decommissioning is a key opportunity for Scotland
  • Sustainability is directly linked to NDA’s innovation mission.  Emerging new green tech sectors (e.g. space in Sutherland, solar at Chapelcross) is exciting, but maximising synergies and collaboration is key

How To Address These Issues - Collaboration

Professor Mike Ward, Professor of Practice for the Advanced Nuclear Research Centre (ANRC) at the University of Strathclyde spoke at the event, giving an introduction to the ANRC.

Professor Ward, said:

“Irrespective of policy on nuclear new build, Scotland has a number of legacy nuclear sites that need to be dealt with responsibly.  Looking into ways of leveraging the investment needed to address this challenge through innovation seems like a significant opportunity, with the potential to enable a growth in new, high value, sustainable industries. By being part of today’s event the Advanced Nuclear Research Centre can be part of this opportunity and collaborate with industry and other academic partners to meet these challenges."

The event allowed those in attendance to hear about why technology and innovation are so important to nuclear decommissioning, as well as witnessing the range of collaborations that help the NDA develop the subject matter experts and solutions for the future.

How To Address These Issues - Early Career Researchers

The NDA is funding PhD and Post-Doctoral Research Bursaries at Strathclyde, which offer academic researchers the opportunity to develop their research career in some of the NDA’s key focus areas of STEM, Sustainability, the Environment, Stakeholder Engagement, and the Management of Risk. The bursaries equally allow the NDA to work with new academic talent and fresh thinking regarding the approach to its mission delivery.

The roadshow provided an opportunity to engage with local students on their PhD projects enabling more connections and collaborations to be made at the event and in the future.

University of Strathclyde - Advanced Nuclear Research Centre.