Engineering firm Barrnon Ltd has used its expertise in providing durable trawling gear for fishermen to develop a new technique for removing nuclear waste.
The business developed its Bladecutter technology with the help of an Innovate UK award. The dredging system has been used to remove radioactive sludge in large ponds on historic nuclear sites.
Removing the sludge demands the same heavy duty dredging gear operating in a harsh environment such as the sea bed.
The technology has opened up a worldwide market worth an estimated £100 million.
Bladecutter used in decommissioning of nuclear plant
Bladecutter and its improved successor, Bladecutter 2, were successfully used in the decommissioning of Hunterston nuclear power station.
Barrnon has since developed a complete suite of innovative nuclear decommissioning equipment, incorporating emerging technologies such as robotics and virtual reality.
The company now works alongside engineering giants such as Atkins, Toshiba, TEPCO and IHI Corporation to tackle environmental threats at nuclear sites worldwide – including Sellafield, UK; Fukushima, Japan; and Hanford, USA.