UKAEA urges global collaboration on fusion robotics

The United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) is calling on the international robotics community to work together on the nuclear technologies of the future.


UKAEA’s fusion robotics division RACE (Remote Applications in Challenging Environments) wants academics and industry to work together on the multitude of technological challenges that nuclear now faces, including decommissioning of fission plants as well as the robotics that can make fusion a commercial reality. Ahead of the 2023 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) at London’s ExCeL at the end of May, RACE is inviting experts from across the globe to come and discuss the latest developments in mechanical engineering, electronics and cybernetics.

“UKAEA is inviting the ICRA community to put our minds together – we are open to collaborations with industry, academia and researchers – to help deliver fusion economically and sustainably,” said Professor Rob Buckingham, UKAEA’s director of RACE.

RACE will be showcasing its Haptic Training Simulator (HTS) at the event, a device designed to provide remote handling operators working in the nuclear industry with haptic feedback training, allowing them to experience tactile sensations whilst practising complex manoeuvres. Created using technology originally developed to train dentists, the HTS is an outcome of a collaboration with Generic Robotics as part of UKAEA’s LongOps programme – a £12M UK and Japanese project to develop robotic capability that will support delivery of faster and safer decommissioning at Japan’s Fukushima plant and at Sellafield.

“Robotics is key for the entire lifecycle of future fusion power stations, from design and maintenance through to decommissioning,” Prof Buckingham continued. “The Haptic Training Simulator is a great example of how successful collaborations and tech transfer between different sectors can support shared goals to provide a better solution for all.”

UKAEA is also hosting a  ‘Robotics in fusion energy workshop’ which will take place at ICRA from 13.45 – 15.00, Wednesday 31 May 2023, Room 1, Capital Suite, ICC Level 3, ExCeL London.