Dalton Cumbrian Facility – Construction Milestone

Construction of a new £20m nuclear research centre in West Cumbria has reached a major milestone with the start of work on the pile foundations.

The Dalton Cumbrian Facility (DCF) is being constructed on the Westlakes Science and Technology Park, near Whitehaven, and is scheduled to open in September 2011.

DCF will be a new research base for The University of Manchester’s Dalton Nuclear Institute and is the result of joint investment by the University and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA).

DCF is designed to complement and significantly expand the nuclear research and education capability of the UK’s university sector and has the overall aim of delivering world-class nuclear research and transferring knowledge to industry.

Research at DCF will focus primarily in the fields of radiation science, nuclear engineering decommissioning and the management of radioactive waste.

Once fully operational DCF will house around 40 post-doctoral and PhD researchers, lecturers and operating personnel and will aim to attract leading UK and overseas academics to carry out research and deliver lectures in West Cumbria.

DCF will incorporate 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 incorporating modelling and experimentation.

Unique academic access to the National Nuclear Laboratory’s extensive facilities at the Central Laboratory, situated on the Sellafield site, and at Workington will be facilitated by DCF to support full lifecycle development and deployment of innovative technologies.

DCF will add to the growing research, education and skills infrastructure within West Cumbria which are integral 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.

The Principal Contractor for the construction of DCF is Morgan Sindall. The construction phase will be project managed by property consultants Drivers Jonas Deloitte and DCF is designed by Wilson Mason Architects.   

Jamie Reed, MP for Copeland, said:

“The investment in the DCF is an important step in maximising the expertise that exists here in Cumbria by building on the strength of the existing nuclear industry to create a solid economic future for the area. The new facility will add to the growing education and skills infrastructure in West Cumbria which will provide invaluable support to the development of Britain’s Energy Coast.”

Professor Andrew Sherry, Director of the Dalton Nuclear Institute, said:

‘The University of Manchester’s Dalton Cumbrian Facility will integrate with other facilities in the North of England to establish a truly unique and world-leading capability. Working closely with the 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’.

Dr Ian Hudson, NDA Programme Director for Sellafield, said:

“The need for a world class nuclear research centre was a key part of the NDA’s skills strategy. Locating the DCF here in West Cumbria close to other key facilities such as the National Nuclear Laboratory and Energus will provide an overall package of education and skills excellence that will both support the NDA’s clean up mission and the broader development of the local economy.”