What we do
RACE is the UKAEA’s centre for Remote Applications in Challenging Environments. We design, operate and deliver robotics for extreme industrial environments, working towards our goal: bringing fusion energy to the grid.
Fusion promises to be a safe, sustainable and low-carbon part of the world’s future energy supply in the second half of this century.
Fusion powerplants will be maintained by remote handling equipment and autonomous robotics. RACE is leading the development of technology to maintain fusion powerplants safely and efficiently.
And it doesn’t stop there: RACE’s unique skills in robotics can be applied to multiple sectors, making it possible to carry out tasks in the most challenging environments imaginable.
Maintenance conditions in a fusion powerplant:
Dose rates may reach 3 kGy per hour
During maintenance, components may be as hot as 500 K
Maintenance ports are long and narrow, often shared with other equipment, and may reach up to 5 m into the vessel
Maintenance may need to be performed at vacuum pressure
Residual magnetic fields are expected to be around 40 mT
Components may contain hazardous materials like lithium and beryllium
RACE has developed specialist skills in robotics and remote maintenance systems that make it possible to carry out tasks in challenging environments where people cannot work.
Performing remote operations
RACE’s remote handling expertise stemmed from the need to design and operate remote handling equipment for the maintenance of the Joint European Torus (JET).
Now, with over 30,000 hours of in-vessel operational experience, the RACE team provides training for remote handling teams in the UK, Sweden and Japan.
Take a look at what we are working on
RACE is engineering the freedom to operate in challenging environments. To achieve our fusion engineering goals, we work closely with the nuclear decommissioning industry and others.Programmes
Design for remote maintenance
Design, integrate, deliver
Beyond fusion, RACE supports international ‘big science’ projects such as the European Spallation Source (ESS), a cutting-edge neutron science facility in Sweden. RACE leads the delivery of the site’s Active Cells Facility, the world’s largest windowless hot cell – designing, specifying and commissioning the facility that will process irradiated waste.
Research and Development
Our team contributes to world-leading R&D in remote handling and decommissioning through several collaborative programmes such as Robotics and Artificial Intelligence in Nuclear (RAIN), which focuses on robotic gloveboxes, and the £12M LongOps programme to advance remote handling technologies for decommissioning at JET, Sellafield and Fukushima Daichi.
Find out more about RACE
RACE is engineering the freedom to operate in challenging environments. To achieve our fusion engineering goals, we work closely with the nuclear decommissioning industry and others.
Delivering world-changing robotics and bringing fusion energy closer to reality through close collaborations with our partners.