React secures Hitachi contract

David McCourt

Cumbria-based React Engineering, through its spin-off research and development arm Createc, has signed a contract with Japanese company Hitachi to develop a tailored version of its N-Visage radiation detection and mapping technology.

The new version of N-Visage will be used to aid the clean up of the Fukushima nuclear site following damage caused by the tsunami in 2011.

React Engineering was part of a Britain's Energy Coast backed mission to Japan in November 2012 to demonstrate the technology prior to Hitachi's signing of the contract in West Cumbria.

The company first made contact with Hitachi in April 2012 through the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, and have used International Nuclear Services to help with contract negotiations.

Encouraging West Cumbrian companies to seek global opportunities in the nuclear sector is a key part of the West Cumbria Economic Blueprint – a strategy launched in summer 2012 to guide the focus and investment of BEC over the next 15 years.

Rt Hon Brian Wilson, chairman of BEC, said: "It is fantastic to see an innovative technology developed right here in West Cumbria being picked up by a company the size and stature of Hitachi.

"For them to find what they need here demonstrates the hidden gem products developed on our doorstep with global commercial appeal."

Hitachi is working with the Japanese government to find ways of cleaning up Fukushima and other nuclear power plants damaged by the tsunami and earthquake in 2011.

N-Visage combines sensor technology and 3D-computer modelling to provide users with an accurate map of dose levels in different parts of a nuclear environment, allowing clean up work to be approached systematically and safely.

The Createc team is also using funding and support from the UK Technology Strategy Board and NDA to investigate whether N-Visage can be adapted for use in the medical and security sectors.

Trevor Craig, founding director of React Engineering and Createc, said: "One of the Hitachi delegation compared finding the N-Visage technology in Cumbria to finding a rare Picasso painting in the attic."

Since the tsunami and earthquake in 2011 and the resultant incident at Fukushima, the British Embassy, UKTI and NDA have been working with the Japanese government and Japanese companies to find out more about their clean up policy and to raise awareness of the UK's nuclear capability.

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