26 February, 2008 – Northwest's new multi-£m nuclear technology centre to be based in Manchester
The University of Manchester's Dalton Nuclear Institute has announced plans to establish a new Centre for Nuclear Energy Technology (C-NET).
Following the government’s recent announcement on the future of nuclear power, C-NET will develop professionals with the skills to work in the global nuclear industry and will provide access to high-quality, independent academic research.
The investment in C-NET will total £25 million in two phases over the next five years. The first phase of investment will start this year and will see a £16 million investment over three years.
The proposal has been endorsed by the NW Science Council, and funding is now being sought from the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA). The University of Manchester will also be making a substantial investment in the Centre.
It is envisaged that further funding will come from research councils, income generated through the work of researchers and considerable investment from industry.
Regional and private sector investment in C-NET will seed the re-establishment of critical capabilities required to support the nuclear industry and help attract and support nuclear build companies in the region.
While new reactor designs likely to be built in the UK will to come from abroad, it is recognised that the UK will need its own delivery capability.
The new build market is estimated to be worth tens of billions of pounds with potential for 70 to 80 per cent delivered within the UK.
C-NET will supply a new generation of science, engineering and technology graduates will be required to support this industry.
Jeremy Scudamore, Chair of the North West Science Council said: "Nuclear is a critical sector for the Northwest and the Science Council is delighted to support this proposal that will ensure the supply of skills needed for nuclear new build and strengthen further the critical mass of expertise that is located in the Northwest."
C-NET will act as a ‘beacon’ and link-in appropriate capabilities and research infrastructure nationally and internationally. In particular, it will collaborate with the other academic strengths in the region and thus help consolidate the Northwest’s position as an internationally recognised region of excellence in nuclear energy.
The new Centre, which is expected to start operating during 2008, will be based in Manchester and will link into other regional universities.
David Powell, Westinghouse’s Regional Vice-President for the UK said: "The UK Government’s recent decision to encourage the construction of a new generation of nuclear plants provides a vital stimulus for the development of nuclear skills and technology.
"It is important that the UK has nuclear expertise of our own so that British industry can capitalise on the huge opportunities which are offered both by new nuclear stations and by the existing programmes of work associated with our current fleet.
"As a key player in the Northwest’s nuclear industry, Westinghouse welcomes the establishment of this Centre, which marks a significant step on the way towards regeneration of the nation’s nuclear capability."
As well as the science and engineering aspects of nuclear power, C-NET will also develop capability in ‘society and sustainability’ aspects, covering important topics such as socio-economics, policy, regulation and public acceptability.
Professor Alan Gilbert, President and Vice Chancellor of The University of Manchester said: "For Manchester, C-NET is key to building a world leading academic capability in nuclear and related research.
"The Centre will not only support UK interests in nuclear energy, but will engage internationally at this critical time for establishing sustainable energy generation technologies."
The Dalton Nuclear Institute was launched in July 2005 to act as the engine to drive the co-ordination and growth of Manchester’s nuclear expertise base and to become one of the world leading centres of nuclear research and education.
Last year the Institute announced it would be establishing a major £20m nuclear research facility in Cumbria in conjunction with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA).
Source: University of Manchester press release