Expression of Interest-Non-intrusive Detection of Liquor Levels in Vessels and Pipework



Open early engagement - This means that a procurement idea is currently active, it is in the early stage of development and judging interest from potential suppliers.

Contract summary


Research and Development

Location of contract

North West

Published date

05 September 2017


National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) plays a key role in the UK and global nuclear industry. That means reducing the cost of clean-up and decommissioning, maintaining critical skills and attracting talented new people to the industry.
Since July 2008, NNL has been providing independent advice to the UK Government and working with other National Laboratories around the world, delivering a full range of research and technology to support the nuclear fuel cycle.
Quite simply, NNL are the only UK organisation with the skills, facilities and expertise to provide technical support to all aspects of the nuclear industry. What"s more, NNL prides itself on offering quality, value and service to every one of its customers.

There are three core areas in which we operate as a business:
Waste Management and Decommissioning
NNL offer a range of products and services that focus on developing and applying techniques to decommission nuclear facilities. Their skills cover the full dimension of wastes management and decommissioning projects, including environmental and effluent management, measurement and analysis and waste immobilisation technology.

Fuel Cycle Solutions
NNL are focused on providing technical solutions to the nuclear industry. This includes fuel cycle performance and technology development, spent fuel disposition and plant integrity. NNL also handle nuclear security, safety management and engineering services, along with advanced modelling and simulation.

Reactor Operations Support
As nuclear energy continues its resurgence worldwide, NNL offers vital support to reactor operations in the UK, including post irradiated examination and the performance of fuel components and graphite. The services cover power station chemistry, endoscopy and metallography. This means major customers, including the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), Sellafield Limited, Springfields Fuels Limited, the MoD, EDF Energy and the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA).

In support of future decommissioning activities, the National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) is carrying out a program of work to investigate technologies to detect and quantify residual liquor levels in vessels and pipelines. In the initial phase of the project, NNL are interested in engaging with the supply chain to explore the capabilities of suppliers to either:
a) Supply off the shelf equipment to meet some or all of the measurement requirements
b) Modify existing equipment to meet some or all of the measurement requirements
c) Develop bespoke solutions to some or all of the measurement requirements

In the event that no suitable off the shelf equipment exists, NNL would like to work with suppliers to:
1) Determine the amount of development work which may be required.
2) See if the technology suppliers have their own R&D budgets that could be leveraged to meet Sellafield Limited"s needs.

Supplier responses should be received by 15th September 2017.

About the buyer

Contact name

Joanne Wilding


National Nuclear Laboratory Ltd
5th Floor Chadwick House, Warrington Road, Birchwood Park


Other information


If suitable equipment can be sourced, either off-the shelf or through a development program, it is the intention to run trials of the equipment using test rigs either non-actively at NNL"s Workington premises or in active areas on the Sellafield Site. This will form a second phase to the project planned for FY 17/18, which may/may not proceed. In preparation for this, suppliers are invited to indicate the basis on which they may be able to perform trials with their respective techniques (ie free of charge through to full commercial rates).
Measurement Requirements
" The measurement shall detect the presence of residual liquor in vessels and pipelines.
" The technique shall be non-intrusive (ie no access to the inside of the vessel is possible).
" It shall be feasible to deploy the technology remotely although at this stage this it is not a requirement.
" The vessel and pipework will be made of stainless steel.
" Pipework will be in the range 1"- 6" nominal bore and Schedule 10, 40 and 80.
" Vessels will be of various shapes and sizes with dimensions of the order of several metres.
" The wall thickness of the vessels will be in the range 6 to 12 mm.
" The vessels may have outer layers such as thermal insulation.
" The vessels may be double skinned.
" Pipework may be coaxial.
" The pipework may be in any orientation from vertical to horizontal.
" The vessels and pipelines may contain solids and sludge as well as liquor.
" The vessels may be empty, full or partially filled.
" The measurement may discriminate between solids, sludge and liquor within the vessel/pipeline.
" The measurement may quantify the volume or level of residual liquor.
" The liquor may be organic or aqueous.
" The liquor may contain radionuclides.
" The may be a background of alpha, beta, gamma or neutron
It is recognised that a single technology may not meet all requirements. Techniques identified as being of interest so far are pulsed-echo ultrasonics, X-ray radiography, neutron backscatter, thermal imaging and shearography. NNL is particularly interested in understanding the strengths, weaknesses and performance boundaries of potential techniques with respect to the measurement requirements such that a suite of complimentary approaches to liquor level measurement can be developed. As such, interested parties are invited to supply information to highlight suitable products and services, and where they may be applied to the measurement problem. This information may be in the form of product literature or proposed solutions. If development work is proposed, suppliers should indicate whether they have their own R&D budgets that could be used for this. In addition, suppliers should indicate the basis on which they may be able to participate in future trials of technologies, trials phase may run in FY17/18.

How to apply

Please apply directly to the buyer using the contact details provided

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