29 April 2021
by Andrea Gaini

£3 million nuclear robotics contract is first tranche in LongOps UK-Japan deal

The UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) has awarded Veolia Nuclear Solutions, UK, and Wälischmiller Engineering GmbH, Germany, separate contracts totalling £3mln to supply robotic manipulator arms to its Remote Applications in Challenging Environments (RACE) research facility.

robotic arm
Long arm robotics system for nuclear decommissioning © Nuclear Decommissioning Authority

The £3mln contract stems from the £12mln UK-Japanese robotics deal for fusion energy and nuclear decommissioning research, called LongOps, announced in January this year.

LongOps will support the delivery of faster and safer decommissioning at the Tokyo Electric Power Company’s (TEPCO) Fukushima Dai-ichi site in Japan and at Sellafield in the UK.

Veolia Nuclear Solutions and Wälischmiller Engineering GmbH will each provide a twin-arm haptic manipulator – a form of kinaesthetic communications technology, complete with electrical and control systems, to deliver key aspects of the LongOps project. The manipulators will also be used by UKAEA to train operators that are based at both Sellafield and Fukushima.

In addition, developments from LongOps will be applied to the upgrading, maintenance and dismantling of fusion devices, such as the Joint European Torus.

The four-year LongOps collaboration is led by UKAEA’s RACE robotics test facility at Culham Science Centre near Oxford.

LongOps is funded equally by UK Research and Innovation, the UK’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and TEPCO.


Andrea Gaini