Jacobs was selected by National Nuclear Laboratory to manage the acquisition of more than 100 new remotely operated manipulator robots for its Windscale Laboratory in West Cumbria

Working with Wälischmiller Engineering, Jacobs’ robotics specialists will be responsible for procuring replacement machines which will handle radioactive material for inspection or processing.

Jacobs will also work with Cumbria-based engineering company Numech on the design and manufacture of dedicated liners to provide each of the manipulators with radiation protection in 12 of the facility’s highly radioactive caves.

Jacobs Energy, Security & Technology Senior Vice President Karen Wiemelt said:

“Building on 15 years of supporting the NNL mission, this important project will help us continue pushing the boundaries of robotics in nuclear research. With our successful experience in remote handling projects, we can deliver facilities that improve NNL’s nuclear research capabilities and support the U.K.’s energy transition and net zero carbon objectives.”

Remote handling specialists from Wälischmiller and Jacobs will train NNL staff to operate and maintain the new equipment at a purpose-built mock-up in Jacobs’ Engineering and Technology Centre close to the Sellafield site. As a local small medium enterprise, Numech’s involvement in the project is an opportunity to bring additional, important economic benefits to Cumbria.

Robotics is a major focus of Jacobs’ investment in research and development. Last year it brought on board the staff and assets of Resolve Robotics, a British company which developed innovative autonomous systems for hazardous environments. Jacobs is also investing $4.6 million to open the Centre for Robotic Autonomy in Demanding and Long-lasting Environments, a new center for PhD research at the University of Manchester. Jacobs is also carrying out major refurbishments of NNL’s four main research laboratories in the North West of England.

NNL’s Chief Customer Officer Nick Hanigan said:

“Our Windscale Laboratory is unique in the U.K., and vital to the nuclear industry, supporting our customers to ensure continued safe running of our nation’s nuclear reactors. This investment in our facilities will enable us to continue to meet the needs of our stakeholders as well as the wider ambitions of the sector in our role as the national laboratory for nuclear fission.”


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