The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority is working with the UK Space Agency to explore if data collected by satellites could be turned into useful insights for the nuclear clean-up mission.

The Nuclear Decommissioning Space Data Challenge has been launched by the UK Space Agency for small businesses and academic start-ups to compete for a £10,000 prize.

The cash will help the winner develop their idea into a prototype.

Sara Huntington, the NDA's head of innovation, said: “Remote monitoring is just one example of the uses of satellite technology that could benefit the nuclear sector."

Satellites orbiting the Earth could also be used for inspections of buildings that cannot be accessed physically as well as monitoring ground movement.

She added: “There are so many opportunities here which we could explore, and I’m absolutely delighted that the NDA is the very first public sector organisation to collaborate with UKSA on this challenge.”

Proposals must be submitted by December 16 and shortlisted applicants will be invited to showcase their ideas in a Dragons' Den-style event at the UK Space Agency’s networking event in London next January, where a panel of judges will select the winner.

The prize also includes specialist space and business development support to help the winner develop their idea further and bring it to closer to market.

As part of a wider collaboration with the agency, an NDA nuclear graduates is currently seconded into the agency to further strengthen the potential for transferring technology from the space sector to nuclear decommissioning.

NDA technology and innovation director Melanie Brownridge added: “We’re committed to encouraging the development of ideas for decommissioning, and to working with other industrial sectors on the exchange or adaptation of technologies.

"This aligns with the aims of the government’s Industrial Strategy and Nuclear Sector Deal. We’ve welcomed the UK Space Agency to our NDA supply chain events for the last 2 years, so are really pleased to embark on a more structured initiative.”