Sellafield Ltd: Streamlining nuclear waste handling

How RKVST® demonstrated a secure chain of custody can improve decommissioning operations and multi-stakeholder visibility while maintaining data integrity 

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) is the UK authority for delivering safe, sustainable, solutions for nuclear waste management.  Sellafield Ltd, controlled by the NDA, is the UK’s largest nuclear decommissioning site. Over the next 120 years, Sellafield will decommission and render safe an estimated 1.8 million tons of nuclear waste.

Nuclear waste containers are highly regulated, critical assets. Locating and tracking nuclear waste requires significant effort, involving multiple entities and actors across the nuclear waste lifecycle, querying and updating information in dispersed data silos, and ensuring compliance with evolving regulations.

Solving the integrity, transparency and trust challenge
With one in every five steps of the nuclear waste tracking process relying on paper or manual traceability, the challenge was to use advanced digital technologies to create a secure, irrefutable way of maintaining the integrity of this data across extended timelines while ensuring visibility for multiple stakeholders and organizations. The solution would need to:

  • Provide global waste visibility
  • Deliver continuous information assurance with accessibility, security, and resilience
  • Integrate with existing internet of things (IoT) sensors
  • Allow device-agnostic access
  • Ensure compliance with waste acceptance criteria
  • Result in cost savings and process improvements

The RKVST solution
Powered by blockchain, RKVST allows organizations to establish, maintain and verify a chain of custody across the entire supply chain. With RKVST organizations can:

  • Create an immutable record of who did what when to any asset
  • Prove records have not been tampered with
  • Prove ownership of digital and physical assets
  • Provide multi-party sharing and visibility of supply chain data

Blockchain without the complexity
With RKVST there is no need to learn or implement a complex blockchain; the hard work has already been done. The RKVST API delivers all the advantages of blockchain without the need for cryptographic skills and distributed ledger experience. With information stored on the blockchain, RKVST guarantees the immutability of assets making it impossible to delete, remove or tamper with the chain of evidence.

RKVST was selected by Sellafield for its ability to accurately represent nuclear waste handling in a high integrity record that provides reliable access to stakeholders to do their job without changing existing systems and processes. RKVST enables trusted data exchange, verification and indelible and persistent audit trails critical for the long-term safety and security of the UK’s nuclear waste. Cryptographically protected records provide traceability and information integrity across the entire NDA estate with an immutable record of what happened, when it happened, and who was responsible.

A single source of truth
RKVST demonstrated its ability to capture data across Sellafield’s entire digital estate without changing existing databases or data capture techniques to provide a ‘single source of truth’.  This immutable chain of custody proves compliance, quality assurance, and operational efficiency.

Capture rich evidence and enforce compliance policies
Sellafield was able to append additional information to any asset record including scanned documents, IoT metrics, GPS data, quality reports, etc. With RKVST, there is no need to re-write databases, applications or create new data entry tools. Authorized access to only the data needed is provided through an open API. This means all stakeholders know they’re dealing with the right items, and a single source of truth eliminates the use of out-of-date, incorrect or mistyped data.

Additionally, RKVST ensures that compliance requirements are being met and can notify the right authorities when out of compliance situations arise. RKVST combines cloud-based storage, identity and access management, and permissioned blockchain to deliver continuous assurance in shared asset data.

RKVST demonstrated how innovations in distributed ledger technology could solve the challenge of digitizing nuclear waste data tracking to save time, eliminate transcription errors and significantly reduce cost through:

  • Improved data transparency and multi-party coordination
  • Improved item-level traceability
  • Intrinsic digital auditability
  • Enhanced digital security
  • Automated compliance with regulations

RKVST made it easy for Sellafield and its supply chain partners to access information across data silos, resulting in optimizations for planning, scheduling, operations and routing. By providing end-to-end track-and-trace of waste materials, Sellafield forecasts significant cost saving and handling speed improvements with vastly increased reliability and data accuracy. It was estimated that RKVST improves >55% of current process steps and reduces information mismanagement by 90%.

Digital Catapult, the UK authority on advanced digital technology, worked in collaboration with Sellafield Ltd to run a Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) Field Lab™. RKVST was selected to partner with Sellafield to solve the challenge of digitizing nuclear waste data tracking. Read the results of of the project in the Digital Catapult Sellafield DLT Field Lab Report.