A collaboration between an innovative Cumbrian SME and global infrastructure giant has revealed plans to sell ground-breaking technology pioneered at the Sellafield site into international markets.

Cockermouth-based Createc and global infrastructure solutions company Costain have been trialling its specially developed D:EEP technology at the complex nuclear decommissioning site in West Cumbria for several months.

D:EEP analyses radiation levels within concrete structures, allowing operators to plan what depth they need to go to remove contamination.

Createc and Costain say it not only improves accuracy and safety but can save considerable time and money in tackling the challenge of cleaning up nuclear legacies and minimising waste, which ultimately has to go into storage.

Now they are targeting markets including Japan, the United States and Europe – specifically Germany, Italy and Norway – to sell the Cumbrian-developed product.

Createc applied knowledge it had gained from its work in medical imaging to pioneer the technological aspect of D:EEP.

Its operations director and technical lead David Clark outlined the appeal of D:EEP to an international decommissioning market worth an estimated £1 trillion.

He said: “D:EEP can be used to help define a decommissioning strategy at the outset revealing the challenge from the start. Any operator who is responsible for concrete structures with radiological contamination is going to benefit from this technology, or any operator responsible for safe disposal of contaminated concrete.”

Matt Mellor, chief executive of Createc – which works in the civil nuclear, defence, rail, aerospace, security and medical sectors across the world – added: “Createc is about the ideas and innovation, taking technology and applying it to a different problem.

“Once we have the principles in place and we know it works, we look for partners with connections in the market to work with us to turn our innovation into a commercial product.”

Costain’s role was to provide its engineering expertise to integrate the technology into an operational piece of equipment. Its energy sector director, Rob Phillips, said D:EEP was a “perfect example of industry collaboration”.

The present method of measuring radioactivity called ‘coring’, can often result in sparse readings, damage to the concrete structures being analysed and can present a significant risk those undertaking the measurement work.

D:EEP has been recognised with a Sellafield Business Excellence Gold Award for its use in a Pile Fuel Storage Pond dewatering trial and was highly commended at the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s Supply Chain Awards.