£20m for nuclear research centre

A major new nuclear research facility is to be established in Cumbria with £20m of initial funding from The University of Manchester’s Dalton Nuclear Institute and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.


A major new nuclear research facility is to be established in Cumbria with £20m of initial funding from The University of Manchester’s Dalton Nuclear Institute and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA).



The university and the NDA have signed an initial collaboration agreement, which will see each organisation invest £10m over a seven-year period.



The money will be used to provide specialist research equipment and facilities and to drive forward research into radiation sciences and engineering decommissioning.



The new laboratory will include accelerators and experimental equipment to study the irradiation damage and effects on materials and chemical systems used in nuclear environments.



The new multi-million pound centre, which will initially house around 60 staff and postgraduate students, will be built on the Westlakes Science and TechnologyPark, near Whitehaven in West Cumbria, and will have close links with the existing British Technology Centre (BTC) at Sellafield, which is managed by Nexia Solutions, and will form part of the recently announced National Nuclear Laboratory.



As part of the investment agreement with NDA, The University of Manchester will recruit a team of new academic staff and will work to extend access into the BTC for academic researchers from other universities.



Professor Simon Pimblott, who has been appointed from the US to head up the research into radiation sciences, said: ‘This is a major opportunity for The University of Manchester’s Dalton Nuclear Institute and the NDA to build truly world-leading research capabilities in the fields of radiation chemistry and radiation damage on materials.


‘The scale of the investment is a major indication of both parties’ 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.’