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Dounreay Site Restoration Limited (DSRL) and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) have partnered with Createc Ltd, to launch an innovative twelve-month programme of work, taking on seven different remote robotic sensing projects, across five different Dounreay teams. The projects, which span security, planning, environmental and safety use cases, all have one thing in common, they’re enabled by Spot, the robotic quadruped (‘dog’) from Boston Dynamics. As a technical integrator of the robot and Boston Dynamics Gold Partner, Createc will support Dounreay by providing access to the cutting-edge equipment and full time on-site technical resources to deliver the programme.

This isn’t just about deploying new technologies. Dounreay has carefully structured the programme to upskill existing teams with new robotics and sensing skills. This ‘lead and learn’ approach will see Createc delivering the first projects whilst training Dounreay staff, who will shadow all activities. A close handover and continued on-site support will then allow Dounreay staff to lead on the final projects, becoming confident operatives of both the robot and sensor payloads.

We’re delighted to be working this way with Dounreay. At the heart of this programme is the desire to take a new approach that will truly embed the technologies on site, and the work is structured in exactly the right way to do this. We won’t just be proving something can be done, we’ll be proving it can be done regularly, by existing Dounreay staff and as an everyday part of operations.” Says Createc’s Product Lead, Rosie Richardson.

Over the course of twelve months, Dounreay will systematically validate the suitability of several different types of sensors, combined with Spot, to support the digitalisation of existing on-site processes. Iain Darby, Dounreay’s Head of Innovation says that the use cases will demonstrate the multi-tasking value of the quadruped for nuclear sites, and its ability to carry out practical work for multiple teams. “Spot is not just a gimmick; it’s a practical tool that we can use to survey and monitor in areas where people should not or cannot go,” he says. “We are investigating all the ways that we can use the ROV so that we can get the most out of it.

Dounreay Project Manager for the programme of work, Heather Fairweather, added: “I believe that this is the way forward where operators can minimise their dose rates but still get the job done. It’s not to replace operators, but to help them.

The Createc team and technologies arrived on site in February 2023 and the first projects are already underway.

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