The European Commission is inviting proposals to support Innovative technologies for safety and excellence in decommissioning, including robotics and artificial intelligence.
- Decommissioning is currently recognised as a fixed part of the nuclear facilities’ life cycle. This cannot be neglected when implementing a sustainable energy future. This also reflects the public interest and the contemporary principle of environmental sustainability related to any industrial activity. Though various dismantling techniques are at the level of industrial maturity, there are still specific challenges to achieving high safety standards, efficiency and cost-effectiveness of dismantling operations.
- As identified in the Euratom project portfolio and the SHARE project, a roadmap for research and innovation in decommissioning has been published based on the needs and gaps identified across the whole decommissioning value chain and built on the input of the international stakeholder community,. The thematic areas that should be prioritised are in situ waste characterisation and segregation, robotics and remote systems, difficult to measure radionuclides, clearance of surfaces and structures, cost estimation and knowledge management. In particular, specific needs include developing remote, integrated and automatic technologies for waste characterisation and segregation, but also modular and mobile systems and robotic solutions to address the hard-to-access areas in a new and cost-effective way and developing data collection protocols and a global cost estimation methodology.
- Decommissioning is a multidisciplinary process and experts anticipate that ‘open innovation beyond technology’ and digital and robotics’ technologies can provide crucial insights for the overall planning and implementation of decommissioning projects. Establishing guidelines and sharing best practices on the implementation of digital technologies like Building Information Modelling, digital twins and artificial intelligence is also expected to improve key decommissioning tasks. International cooperation will result in a relative harmonisation of decommissioning waste management systems, including its packaging, transport and storage. Harmonisation of clearance criteria for radioactive materials from decommissioning will also improve recycling in and out of the nuclear sector.
- The total indicative budget for the topic is EUR 4.00 million.
- Beneficiaries may provide financial support to third parties. The maximum amount to be granted to each third party is EUR 60 000.
- Project results are expected to contribute to all of the following expected outcomes:
- improve safety in the decommissioning of nuclear systems, minimising operational waste, dismantling waste and improving the environmental remediation of nuclear facilities;
- fulfil decommissioning requirements of the Nuclear Safety Directive, Basic Safety Standards Directive and Radioactive Waste Management Directive;
- contribute to excellence in decommissioning, while developing cutting-edge technological innovation, competitive and resilient industry initiatives, future-proof jobs and skills for a fair transition.
- Any legal entity, regardless of its place of establishment, including legal entities from nonassociated third countries or international organisations (including international European research organisations) is eligible to participate (whether it is eligible for funding or not), provided that the conditions laid down in the Horizon Europe Regulation have been met, along with any other conditions laid down in the specific call topic.
- A ‘legal entity’ means any natural or legal person created and recognised as such under national law, EU law or international law, which has legal personality and which may, acting in its own name, exercise rights and be subject to obligations, or an entity without legal personality.
- Beneficiaries and affiliated entities must register in the Participant Register before submitting their application, in order to get a participant identification code (PIC) and be validated by the Central Validation Service (REA Validation) before signing the grant agreement. For the validation, they will be asked to upload the necessary documents showing their legal status and origin during the grant preparation stage. A validated PIC is not a prerequisite for submitting an application.
- To be eligible for funding, applicants must be established in one of the eligible countries, i.e.:
- the Member States of the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom), including their outermost regions;
- the Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) linked to the Member States:
- countries associated to the Euratom Programme: Ukraine.
- Legal entities which are established in countries not listed will be eligible for funding if provided for in the specific call conditions, or if their participation is considered essential for implementing the action by the granting authority.
- Legal entities established in Russia, Belarus, or in non-government controlled territories of Ukraine are NOT eligible to participate in any capacity. This includes participation as beneficiaries, affiliated entities, associated partners, third parties giving in-kind contribution, subcontractors or recipients of financial support to third parties (if any). Exceptions may be granted on a case-by-case basis for justified reasons.
For more information, visit EC.