JFN Wins Contract for a New Robotic Handling System for the ESS International Research Facility


Working in support of the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) remote handling division RACE, James Fisher Nuclear (JFN), part of James Fisher & Sons PLC, has been tasked to use its remote handling and robotics expertise, gained in high radiation environments, to design and build an efficient and robust Robotic handling System (RHS) to carry out vital operations within the ESS linear accelerator Active Cells.

The RHS will play a key role in maintaining the flow of experiments through the research facility by cutting up and processing the irradiated target station components being used to make what are expected to be ground breaking discoveries across a range of scientific disciplines. 


Adrian Van Arkel from UKAEA said:

The RHS is a key component in making sure that the ESS can efficiently maintain function and throughput of experiments. JFN’s extensive knowledge of remote handling and the use of manipulators in active environments will be essential to the successful completion of this project.



The remit for JFN is to design, manufacture, install and commission an integrated package of remotely operated manipulators, hoists and cranes to handle large radioactive components produced as a bi-product of ESS research activities. The RHS will facilitate the remote size reduction and subsequent safe disposal of the active materials generated by the experiments. The system will also be used carry out a range of remote maintenance tasks within the Active Cells. 


JFN brings a wealth of experience in the design and deployment of remote handling systems and robotic manipulators to carry out complex tasks in nuclear applications. This heritage of delivering effective solutions in some of the most challenging environments in the world means that when the RHS is deployed on site it will be ready to play its part in making the ESS the next great ‘Big Science’ facility.


The ESS is a multi-disciplinary research facility is currently under construction on the outskirts of Lund in Sweden. The facility's unique capabilities will both greatly exceed and complement those of today's leading neutron sources, enabling new opportunities for researchers across the spectrum of scientific discovery, including materials and life sciences, energy, environmental technology, cultural heritage and fundamental physics.

This award follows JFN’s successful bid to supply a suite of radiation tolerant, remotely handlable electrical connectors that will be used to interface with the equipment, within the Active Cells.


Stuart Yellowlees, Chief Operating Officer for JFN said:

It’s certainly an exciting time for JFN with our second contract win with UKAEA in recent weeks. Building as it does on our award to supply radiation tolerant electrical connectors, also for use in the ESS. I feel it marks a significant step in the strengthening commercial relationship between UKAEA and JFN.  The team is really looking forward to taking up this challenge and working with UKAEA on this prestigious international project.


This new collaboration with UKAEA sits at the heart of JFN’s business strategy developing strong commercial bonds with key nuclear stakeholders and is a great endorsement for the capabilities of JFN to deliver on the world stage. Working in partnership with UKAEA to deliver for the ESS will enhance both organisations reputation and firmly establish JFN as one of the pre-eminent nuclear remote handling businesses in the UK.