UK to build new centre of excellence in nuclear research
A major new nuclear research facility is to be built in the north-west of England with the aim of building world-leading research capabilities in radiation chemistry and radiation damage to materials. The University of Manchester and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) will be the initial investors, each channelling GBP 10 million (EUR 13 million) over a seven-year period. Other funding is expected to come from the Northwest Regional Development Agency, industry bodies and the research councils, the UK’s main source of public funding for science.
|A new centre of excellence for nuclear research? |
‘The establishment of new research and development facilities […] supports our broader socio-economic responsibilities,’ said Dr Ian Hudson, Head of Technology and Skills at the NDA.
‘The partnership with Manchester will deliver a world-class operation of high quality research providing excellence in education and skills for the decommissioning and clean-up mission,’ continued Dr Hudson, explaining that the ultimate aim is to make the facility ‘an internationally recognised centre of excellence for the nuclear industry’.
The new centre will be built on the Westlakes Science and Technology Park in West Cumbria, and will initially house around 60 staff and postgraduate students. It will host accelerators and experimental equipment for the study of irradiation damage and effects on materials and chemical systems used in nuclear environments, as well as cutting-edge computational modelling and simulation tools.
The facilities are expected to attract high-calibre international scientists, and have already succeeded in securing US researcher Professor Simon Pimblott as the centre’s director.
‘The scale of the investment is a major indication of [the] commitment to establish one of the world’s leading research groups in the field. This is what has personally attracted me to the UK from the United States, together with the bigger vision for building nuclear research and education at the Dalton Nuclear Institute,’ said Professor Pimblott.
In establishing the new centre, the University of Manchester and the NDA are taking advantage of the UK government’s plans, published in a white paper in January, to build a new wave of nuclear energy plants over the next 12 years.
Dalton Nuclear Institute, University of Manchester
Euratom funding under the Seventh Framework Programme