Cutting-edge nuclear research facility to open in Cumbria

06 Sep 2013

The University of Manchester’s Dalton Nuclear Institute will officially open its Cumbrian research facility on Friday, September 6.

Cutting-edge nuclear research facility to open in Cumbria
Cutting-edge nuclear research facility to open in Cumbria

The Dalton Cumbrian Facility (DCF) is a new research base established with an initial £20 million joint investment by the University and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA). Situated on the Westlakes Science and Technology Park, near Whitehaven, the DCF will bring world-leading academic research in nuclear energy to West Cumbria.

Now a core component of the new National Nuclear User Facility, announced as part of the Government’s Nuclear Industrial Strategy, the DCF is designed to complement and significantly expand the nuclear research and education capability of the UK’s nuclear R&D sector. The overall aims of the Facility are the delivery of world-leading nuclear research and the transfer of knowledge to industry.

The DCF is adding to the growing research, education and skills infrastructure in West Cumbria, key elements in the Britain’s Energy Coast programme that is designed to build on West Cumbria’s world-leading capability in the nuclear industry to deliver diverse and sustained economic wellbeing for the area.

Research at DCF will focus primarily on the areas of radiation science and nuclear engineering decommissioning. The facility is fully equipped following delivery and commissioning of a particle accelerator, the largest and most complex research equipment to be housed at DCF.

The DCF incorporates detailed computer modelling capability and large-scale experimental laboratories, including extensive irradiation facilities and associated analytical and inspection equipment, to provide a comprehensive research environment.

Through the DCF, the University has pioneered unique academic access to the National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL)’s extensive R&D and engineering facilities at the Central Laboratory, situated on the Sellafield site, and at Workington. This access, available to wider UK academia, is vital to support full lifecycle development and deployment of innovative technologies.

The Rt Hon The Lord Hutton of Furness, who will be speaking at the event and officially opening the Facility, said: “I commend The University of Manchester and the NDA for the foresight, vision and commitment they have shown in creating this new Dalton Cumbrian Facility — a world-leading facility for nuclear research, for nuclear skills development and a major driver for socio-economic growth in West Cumbria.”

Professor Colin Bailey, Vice President & Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences at The University of Manchester, said: ‘The University of Manchester's Dalton Cumbrian Facility will integrate with the UK’s other nuclear R&D facilities to establish a truly unique and world-leading capability.

“Working closely with NNL and other nuclear stakeholders, the DCF will create a seamless team of academic researchers and industrial experts to ensure that transformational research, and the development and deployment of technologies, addresses the most challenging nuclear issues.”
Adrian Simper, the NDA’s Director of Strategy & Technology said: “The NDA has always believed that a world class nuclear research centre is a key component for the success of the decommissioning mission, recognised by our significant investment in the Dalton Cumbria Facility”

“Locating the DCF here in West Cumbria provides  unique combination of a world class research facility with appropriate staff and equipment, able to work collaboratively with the likes of the National Nuclear Laboratory, close to the Sellafield site that presents us with the most significant decommissioning and radiological challenges.

More broadly the DCF and its links with NNL add to existing investments such as Energus and the Construction Skills Centre, to provide West Cumbria with probably an unrivalled network of research, education and training infrastructure that brings benefits to the decommissioning mission, the nuclear industry as a whole and the local economy and community.”

Professor Simon Pimblott, Director of the Dalton Cumbrian Facility, added: “The DCF represents a step change in the nuclear R&D capabilities available to UK academia and industry. It provides a fantastic opportunity to perform world-leading science to solve the challenges of UK’s nuclear legacy and to take advantage of the opportunities of the nuclear power renaissance.”

Notes for editors

The Rt Hon The Lord Hutton of Furness, Chairman of Nuclear Industry Association, will be carrying out the official unveiling at the opening ceremony at 11.50am.

About The University of Manchester:
The University of Manchester is one of the world’s premier nuclear research and higher learning universities and the Dalton Nuclear Institute provides the focus for Manchester’s capability across the full range of nuclear science and engineering. Manchester is the UK’s largest single campus university and is ranked in the top three UK universities for research power:

About the Dalton Cumbrian Facility:
The new Dalton Cumbrian Facility (DCF) is situated on the Westlakes Science and Technology Park near Whitehaven and is aimed at significantly enhancing the UK nuclear research and education capability with a specific focus on radiation science and nuclear engineering decommissioning. The DCF will deliver world-leading research and transfer new knowledge and capability to industry. The DCF houses about 50 post-doctoral and PhD researchers, academic lecturers and operating personnel and is attracting leading UK and overseas academics to carry out research and deliver lectures in West Cumbria.

About the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority:
The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) is a non-departmental public body responsible for the decommissioning and clean up of the UK’s public sector civil nuclear assets and liabilities. In addition the NDA are responsible for developing strategies and implementing Government policy for the long-term management of nuclear waste.

About the National Nuclear Laboratory:
The UK's National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) is a Government-owned company with 800 employees and an annual turnover of around £90M,  providing nuclear research, technology and analysis to customers in the UK and globally. The majority of NNL's people and facilities are in West Cumbria and NNL's £250M flagship facility, the Central Laboratory, is part of the National Nuclear Users Facility, along with DCF.

For further information contact:

Michael Addelman
Media Relations
The University of Manchester:
tel; 0161 275 0790

Brian Hough
Socio Economic & Stakeholder Manager
Nuclear Decommissioning Authority
01925 802177