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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/R004889/1
Title: Delivering Enhanced Through-Life Nuclear Asset Management
Principal Investigator: McArthur, Professor S
Other Investigators:
Lunn, Professor RJ Gachagan, Professor A Pierce, Professor SG
Renshaw, Dr JC Williams, Professor SW Michie, Professor WC
DOBIE, Dr G Girolami, Professor M Read, Professor D
Hamilton, Dr A West, Dr GM
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Babcock International Group Plc (UK) BAM Bruce Power L.P.
EDF Kinectrics Inc The Weir Group plc
Department: Electronic and Electrical Engineering
Organisation: University of Strathclyde
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 November 2017 Ends: 31 October 2023 Value (£): 2,160,698
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Energy - Nuclear
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Manufacturing Energy
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
24 May 2017 Prosperity Partnerships Interviews Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Nuclear engineering has returned to the forefront of UK industrial attention with an unprecedented government economic infrastructure spend programme not seen for over 50 years. The combined life extension and new build programmes in Civil Nuclear, running in parallel with life extension and new build in submarine nuclear programmes places a significant demand on an area of engineering already dealing with a National and International skills shortage. Existing and new assets in both civil and naval sectors are important as civil nuclear power accounts for 21% of the UK's electrical generation and nuclear submarines provide the UK's independent continuous at-sea nuclear deterrent. A strategic partnership comprising Babcock International Group, BAM Nutall, Bruce Power, EDF-Energy, Kinectrics, The Weir Group and the University of Strathclyde will establish a nationally significant research programme to increase capability and multidisciplinary expertise focussed on enhanced through-life nuclear asset management.

The overall aim of the partnership is two-fold. First, the drive is to create new knowledge and understanding to underpin the operational management/maintenance of existing infrastructure and to improve understanding and knowledge of lifetime and degradation processes. This will significantly increase the life of existing assets, minimise operational risk and reduce through life costs. Second, this novel knowledge can then be fed into the development of the next generation of nuclear plants and equipment, and hence translate these breakthroughs into the design and build of future nuclear assets. In doing this, the partnership will provide game changing knowledge, understanding and technology to deliver significant impact for the partners, the UK economy and global nuclear industry.

Additionally it will ensure UK scientific and engineering companies remain at the forefront of global markets.

The research in this programme targets low technology readiness level (TRL) advances that are required to support the ambitions of the industry partners and will deliver specific research outcomes which:

- Deliver improved understanding and knowledge of lifetime and degradation processes;

- Deliver a novel method or system for diagnosing or predicting degradation in plant;

- Deliver novel predictive models that allow the lifetime of plant items to be extended; or

- Deliver novel solutions to repairing critical plant to allow plant lifetime to be extended.

The research programme and the pathway to impact will result in the whole life cycle of nuclear assets being more effectively implemented at a value higher than the sum of the individual parts. Operators will see increases in generation and reductions in costs, resulting in lower cost energy for consumers. As nuclear energy is a carbon neutral energy, investment in nuclear will help decrease CO2 emissions and global warming.

The programme targets Energy Security and Efficiency, aiming to meet National Strategic Needs in the Nuclear Sector by investing in nuclear plant life extensions and efficiencies which will help increase electrical generation capacity and reduce the burden on existing electrical assets at a time when the UK faces a shortage in energy and electricity supplies in the coming years.

In addition, some of the industry partners' interests span a number of sectors and the research themes in this programme are also highly relevant to other sectors including aerospace, energy and marine.

Finally, an additional aim of the programme, relates to development of supply chains to deliver the next generation of technologies and components for nuclear assets. Moreover, as a number of the industrial members of the research centres are non-UK based, outputs from this research programme and subsequent products and services can be exported into international markets. This will lead to UK companies being part of foreign supply chains.
Key Findings
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Organisation Website: http://www.strath.ac.uk