Shaping the nuclear future

At Manchester we’re meeting the demands of an evolving nuclear industry.

Nuclear research and development is critical if the UK is to secure a sustainable, low-carbon future energy supply. The country urgently needs a new generation of nuclear engineers and scientists to design and construct new nuclear reactors, extend plant lifetimes, decommission existing facilities and safely dispose of radioactive waste.

At Manchester we're committed to the broad UK nuclear education and skills agenda, and are proud to be a lead institution for nuclear education and outreach. We are the most connected nuclear research institute in the country, working across academia, industry and with the government.

Dalton Nuclear Institute

Building on the legacy of John Dalton, Ernest Rutherford and others, our Dalton Nuclear Institute has established a broad range of specialist laboratories and facilities for fundamental and industry-focused nuclear research across the entire fuel cycle. We continue to invest collaboratively to expand the UK's academic research capability in nuclear science and engineering.

We’ve built an industrially relevant nuclear research and higher learning capability, and to date have formed significant partnerships with major national and international nuclear companies to ensure our nuclear research and training programmes have maximum impact.

There is a critical need for further nuclear research and development, and for people with the right skillset to feed into the industry. We play a pivotal role in meeting these needs. The world works better with us.

Securing the future of the nuclear workforce

We play an important role in providing people with the knowledge and expertise needed by the nuclear sector to meet the current skills gap challenge.

Our Dalton Nuclear Institute represents the UK’s higher education and research and development community on the Nuclear Energy Skills Alliance, a strategic body working with government on skills requirements for the nuclear industry.

We provide professional development courses for industry, as well as course units integrated within undergraduate courses and postgraduate qualifications. Manchester researchers and experts also give talks, liaise with schools and engage in outreach activities to enthuse young people about nuclear energy, fostering the emergence of the next generation of nuclear scientists and engineers.

Our Dalton Nuclear Institute was the motivating force behind the formation of the Nuclear Technology Education Consortium (NTEC), in partnership with 11 other UK universities and higher education institutions. We continue to coordinate NTEC, which comprises 90% of the nuclear postgraduate teaching expertise in the UK and provides flexible postgraduate training for the nuclear sector.

The Next Generation Nuclear Centre for Doctoral Training is a partnership between the Universities of Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and Sheffield, to develop the next generation of research leaders. Together we will work with all the UK’s major industrial and regulatory stakeholders (including AMEC, AREVA, AWE, EDF Energy, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, the National Nuclear Laboratory, Rolls-Royce and Sellafield Ltd) and with leading overseas institutions to support the UK’s present and future strategic nuclear programmes: cleaning up the nuclear legacy, building new nuclear power stations, defence and security.

Our professional development programmes can help industry employees’ readiness, providing the suitably qualified and experienced personnel the sector needs. A combination of both the training and experience accelerates the amount of time the process takes.”

Professor Andrew Sherry, Director of the Dalton Nuclear Institute

We deliver undergraduate course components, postgraduate qualifications and research, public outreach activities, and flexible professional development programmes for industry. The world works better with us. 

Nuclear technology at Manchester

Our Dalton Nuclear Institute is the most advanced, connected academic nuclear research capability in the UK, with world-class facilities and broad collaborations that help drive innovation across the nuclear fuel cycle. It includes:

  • Dalton Cumbrian Facility (DCF) – a state-of-the-art nuclear research complex, offering a unique scientific research base at the heart of the UK's largest concentration of nuclear facilities and expertise.
  • Manufacturing Technology Research Laboratory – a world-class research facility dedicated to improving manufacturing processes and systems, focusing on key areas in nuclear engineering and manufacturing, such as new materials processing, welding and joining, and surface technology.
  • Manchester X-ray Imaging Facility (MXIF) – provides academic and industrial users with access to a suite of ten world-class complementary non-destructive 3D X-ray imaging instruments; resulting 3D analyses from MXIF are used by our nuclear scientists to develop models that predict the performance of materials in demanding environments.
  • Active graphite laboratories – facilities enabling specialist study in the science of active graphite to support industrial and academic research projects in decommissioning, assessing treatment options for graphite waste, and methods for analysing radioactive graphite.
  • Centre for Radiochemistry Research – includes four specialised laboratories, which are the only academic facilities in the UK capable of handling significant levels of high-hazard radionuclides, including technetium, neptunium and plutonium.
  • Radionuclide Biogeochemistry Suite – a set of laboratories created to support our Research Centre for Radwaste and Decommissioning, which provides a unique environment where students and academic researchers can study microbially active medium-level radioactive samples.
  • Nuclear Fuel Centre of Excellence (NFCE) – presently being established in partnership with the National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL), this centre will provide shared equipment at The University of Manchester and at NNL's facilities in Preston and Cumbria to support critical nuclear fuel research and development.

World-leading research demands world-leading facilities. We deliver both. The world works better with us.

Nuclear partnerships at Manchester

Our Dalton Nuclear Institute is the UK’s most connected nuclear research institution*, with a wide range of established academic and industry partnerships around the world.

A hallmark of nuclear at Manchester is our strong focus on industrial collaboration. We work proactively to establish strategic win-win collaborations between industry and the University to ensure our nuclear research and training have maximum impact, while our industrial partners have access to state-of-the-art facilities and expertise.

To date we have formed more than 15 significant partnerships with major national and international nuclear companies. These include:


In partnership with Rolls-Royce we are tackling real-world challenges and helping to support the future development of nuclear energy technologies. Download our case study on the Rolls-Royce Nuclear UTC (PDF document, 2.4MB).


We are working in partnership with AMEC to help close the skills gap currently facing the nuclear industry in the UK, and to undertake leading-edge materials research in the areas of corrosion, materials performance and structural integrity. Download our case study on creating a global centre of excellence (PDF document, 2.1MB).


Alongside EDF we are building a partnership with strong links between industrial R&D activities, both fundamental and applied academic research, and the development of high-level skills. This is built around our Materials Performance Centre and Modelling and Simulation Centre. Our partnership supports safe and reliable operation of existing reactors, fosters innovation for new nuclear build, and develops a skilled workforce.

National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL)

For more than a decade we have enjoyed close links with NNL (and its predecessor organisations). A partnership with our Dalton Nuclear Institute enables NNL and the University to work collaboratively to influence and deliver nuclear R&D and skills-development initiatives. Our combined capability straddles all aspects of the nuclear fuel cycle, and covers expertise (eg joint appointments and secondments), facilities (integrating the capabilities of the NNL Central Laboratory and our own Dalton Cumbrian Facility) and research (collaborative R&D and innovation programmes). We work together in key areas of national importance; our Dalton Nuclear Institute and NNL are both partners in the Nuclear Fuel Centre of Excellence (NFCE) and National Nuclear User Facility (NNUF).


Our Dalton Nuclear Institute is also a key delivery partner – along with the National Nuclear Laboratory – for Innovus: a UK development programme supported by Britain’s Energy Coast and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, which aims to bridge the gap between research and marketable technology.

Sellafield Ltd

We are collaborating with Sellafield Ltd to develop expertise and training in a highly specialised area, developing new ways to safely decommission legacy facilities and process nuclear waste. Download our case study on supporting Sellafield Ltd's centres of expertise (PDF document, 4.7MB).

*Source: A Review of the Civil Nuclear R&D Landscape in the UK (PDF document, 3.3MB)