Dangerous work at nuclear sites could soon be carried out by robots thanks to pioneering research at the University of Lincoln.

The project will improve robotic capabilities at hazardous nuclear sites. Photo: University of Lincoln

Scientists at the University are hoping to increase the capabilities of robots in tasks such as waste handling and site monitoring as part of nationwide work to clean-up nuclear waste, expected to cost £200 billion over the next 100 years.

Leading the research is Professor Gerhard Neumann, from the University of Lincoln’s School of Computer Science, who described the work as “vital”.

“[The] clean-up and decommissioning of nuclear waste is one of the biggest challenges for our generation and the next, and the predicted costs are enormous.”

“Recent disaster situations such as Fukushima have shown the crucial importance of robotics technology for monitoring and intervention, which is missing up to date, making our work even more vital,” said Professor Neumann.

The project, funded by a £1.1 million grant from the UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, will use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to enable robots to deal with the varied and hazardous landscapes of nuclear sites.

It comes after the announcement of AI research at the University looking into driverless cars.