Advanced nuclear manufacturing and materials

Key Features

Businesses can apply for a share of up to £5 million to develop innovative new technologies for the civil nuclear sector

Programme:     SBRI

Award:     Up to £1.9 million

Opens: 7th Nov 2016

Closes: 18th Jan 2017

! This scheme is now closed

This competition aims to stimulate innovation in the civil nuclear sector. Covering structural materials, manufacturing technologies and modular construction processes. Projects that develop new technologies or that transfer technology from other sectors are eligible.

Projects must allow industry to take advantage of future national and global opportunities in the nuclear sector. Projects are expected to help boost growth and reduce costs in the nuclear industry. This could be through creating jobs for new projects, gaining long term service contracts, exploiting intellectual property ownership or working with international partners.

Applications must be in one of the following categories:

1. Structural materials

  • materials development: identifying potential structural materials, manufacturing processes and testing environments for targeted R&D. These should meet the material requirements of Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) and selected Generation IV reactors
  • materials modelling development: developing advanced modelling approaches, validated against experimental data, that can simulate manufacturing processes. They should also predict the performance of materials in real operational conditions

2. Mechanisation and automation of component manufacture

  • solving the challenges caused by introducing advanced and/or automated techniques to the manufacture of nuclear components, particularly for SMRs. Solutions must maintain the quality of components and enable new techniques to be codified to nuclear standards

3. Large scale component manufacturing and assembly

  • developing and demonstrating advanced techniques for the precision machining of large, complex, integrated nuclear components, such as SMR modules and large heat exchangers
  • developing and demonstrating techniques for large scale metrology, to measure assemblies more quickly and accurately
  • developing and demonstrating significantly better techniques to control and mitigate distortion during the machining of large nuclear components
  • developing and demonstrating non-intrusive and rapid inspection and measurement techniques. This will enable faster, cheaper and more accurate inspections when integrating large complex assemblies

4. Development and verification of pre-fabricated modules

  • developing better, faster, cheaper approaches to the construction and installation of large scale nuclear-qualified plant modules weighing up to 1,000 tonnes
  • developing potential solutions for the off-site inspection and verification of critical features within large modules

5. Design codes and standards

  • developing a strategy to codify new manufacturing techniques that are relevant to SMR and Generation IV reactor concepts
  • engaging with international committees
  • developing guidance documents that bring together international nuclear codes and standards


  • The competition is open to any type of organisation
  • Collaboration is encouraged
  • Pre start-ups are eligible
  • All applicants will need to show that their proposed idea has a credible and practical route to market

Funding and project details

This competition has 2 stages for themes 1 to 3. Themes 4 and 5 will be single stage and successful applicants will be offered a stage 1 contract.

In stage 1, you will need to show the technical feasibility of your proposed concept. There is up to £800,000 allocated  for stage 1 projects. Contracts for technical feasibility studies in themes 1 to 3 will last up to 3 months and will be worth up to £25,000.

Contracts for theme 4 projects will be worth up to £200,000 and last up to 12 months.

Contracts for theme 5 projects will be worth up to £300,000 and last up to 24 months.

For projects in themes 1 to 3, in stage 2 you will need to develop and evaluate prototypes and demonstrators based on your stage 1 proposal. There is up to  £4.2 million allocated for stage 2. Development contracts for stage 2 projects will be worth up to £1.9 million. All stage 2 projects must be completed by March 2019.

For projects in themes 1 to 3, stage 2 is only open to organisations that have satisfactorily completed stage

Only the most promising projects from stage 1 into stage 2, subject to independent assessment and budget limitations.