UK research facility open for business

06 September 2013

The UK has opened a new £20 million ($31 million) facility that aims to deliver world-leading nuclear research and transfer that knowledge to industry.

DCF (Image: Dalton Nuclear Institute)_280
The Dalton Cumbrian Facility (Image: Dalton Nuclear Institute)

The Dalton Cumbrian Facility (DCF) has been funded by joint investment by the UK's Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) and the University of Manchester's Dalton Nuclear Institute. Located near Whitehaven in north-western England, the new research centre is a core component of the National Nuclear Users Facility which was announced earlier this year as part of the UK government's nuclear industrial strategy.

Research at the DCF will focus primarily on radiation science and nuclear engineering decommissioning. The facility has its own particle accelerator, and also boasts computer modelling capability, large-scale experimental laboratories, irradiation facilities and associated analytical and inspection equipment. The DCF also incorporates academic access to the active research facilities within the National Nuclear Laboratory Central Laboratory at the nearby Sellafield site.

The DCF was officially opened by Lord Hutton, chairman of the UK Nuclear Industry Association, who commended the University of Manchester and the NDA for their foresight, vision and commitment in creating the new facility.

Colin Bailey, vice president and dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences at the University of Manchester, explained that the DCF would integrate with the UK's other nuclear R&D facilities in a "truly unique and world-leading capability," enabling academic researchers and industrial experts to work together to address the most challenging nuclear issues.

As the UK moves towards the possible construction of new nuclear power plants, the legacy of its long history of the development and use of nuclear energy means that decommissioning remains a priority task in which R&D is a key component. Adrian Simper, director of strategy and technology at the NDA, said the authority's investment in the new facility reflected the importance of a world-class research centre to the UK's decommissioning activities.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News