Wednesday, June 5, 2019

News: Rotherham set to be location for new £22m research facility

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The chain reaction of high profile research facilities opening on and around the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) is continuing with plans being drawn up for the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) to create a £22m site in Rotherham.

The UKAEA is a UK government research organisation responsible for the development of nuclear fusion power with the mission to lead the commercial development of fusion power and related technology and position the UK as a leader in sustainable nuclear energy. It is an executive non-departmental public body of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

A £2.2m grant has recently been secured via the Sheffield City Region Combined Authority to support a £22m project to establish a unique research facility in Rotherham employing up to 40 highly skilled jobs.

Combined Authority papers show that the plan is for a dedicated building of around 25,000 sq ft that would be constructed on the AMP and which UKAEA would lease on a long-term basis.

UKAEA is currently establishing a major programme of work, the purpose of which is to position UK industry to win over £1bn of contracts from the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) programme in France.

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An £86m Government investment was announced in 2017 in the UKAEA's nuclear fusion research programme at Culham Science Centre. Further funding for fusion power is coming through the Government's £200m Nuclear Sector Deal.

The paper sets out the strategic case for the investment: "Location of a facility in Rotherham would enable UKAEA to have greater collaboration with local research organisations such as AMRC, NAMRC and the University of Sheffield as well as many (potentially up to 40) of the region's manufacturing companies. Such activities would greatly strengthen the ability of local companies to share in the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) business opportunities as well enhancing the region’s position as a leader in high value manufacturing and innovation."

The AMP is already home to multimillion pound facilities as part of the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (Nuclear AMRC) - a joint initiative with industry, The University of Sheffield and The University of Manchester's Dalton Nuclear Institute, which is designed to help build and enhance the UK's civil nuclear new build industry.

The University of Sheffield's Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre has a number of facilities on the AMP and has expanded on to the nearby Sheffield Business Park in recent years. The most recent additions include the Royce Translational Centre, the Laboratory for Verification and Validation, and the Integrated Civil and Infrastructure Research Centre. The £10m Translational Energy Research Centre (TERC) is the latest planned facility.

UKAEA website

Images: UKAEA

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