Cumbria-based Createc, an innovative company known for finding solutions to some of the world’s most complex industrial challenges, has been presented with its second Queen’s Award.
Working in the civil nuclear, defence, rail, aerospace, security and medical sectors all over the world, it has received Queen’s Awards in consecutive years. Its award last year was in the international trade category.
) was presented with its latest award — in the innovation category — for developing a 3-D radiation imaging device for mapping nuclear facilities.
Its N-Visage system, developed by Createc over the last 10 years, works by locating and quantifying the cause of radiation — radioactive contamination — rather than simply measuring the radiation itself.
It uses concepts and techniques inspired by the medical imaging industry, combined with new imaging processes that enable the fast and accurate three-dimensional imaging of radio isotopes.
Matt Mellor, chief executive of Createc, said: “The decommissioning of our nuclear legacy costs the UK taxpayer billions of pounds every year.
"One of the primary drivers of these costs is the constraint imposed by the presence of radiation.
"We recognised that to reduce the costs of decommissioning, it was essential to provide better data on which to build plans and make decisions.”
The system was first developed for use at Sellafield, the UK’s largest nuclear facility, and it saved the nuclear industry millions of pounds.
Using the N-Visage technology, it was quickly established that the planned decommissioning of a redundant fuel-handling cell could not proceed in the way that had been assumed.
The fact that Createc was able to discover this after a few weeks of data-driven simulation meant that saved several years of trial and error to reach this conclusion were avoided.