Cutting-edge nuclear research facility opens in Cumbria

The University’s Dalton Nuclear Institute officially opened its Cumbrian research facility on Friday September 6th

Dalton Nuclear Institute
The University of Manchester's Dalton Nuclear Institute

The Dalton Cumbrian Facility (DCF) is a new research base established with an initial £20 million joint investment by the University and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA). Situated on the Westlakes Science and Technology Park, near Whitehaven, the DCF will bring world-leading academic research in nuclear energy to West Cumbria.

Now a core component of the new National Nuclear User Facility, announced as part of the Government's Nuclear Industrial Strategy, the DCF is designed to complement and significantly expand the nuclear research and education capability of the UK's nuclear R&D sector. The overall aims of the Facility are the delivery of world-leading nuclear research and the transfer of knowledge to industry.

Its research will focus primarily on the areas of radiation science and nuclear engineering decommissioning.

The facility, in conjunction with the National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL), provides infrastructure and support for research towards numerous and significant chemical engineering challenges in the nuclear sector. These challenges include current issues at the nearby Sellafield site such as developing technologies to assist in the decommissioning of contaminated building structures and the treatment of radioactive effluents at plant scale. Research at the DCF is also directed towards future nuclear fuel cycle developments in areas like the long-term geological disposal of nuclear waste and the implementation of novel proliferation resistant spent nuclear fuel recycling strategies. Numerous PhD. and EngD. students from the School of Chemical Engineering and Analytical Science have already used DCF resources in their research projects, and more School personnel aim to use this unique facility in the future.

Dalton Nuclear Institute Opening
From left, Prof Colin Bailey, of the University of Manchester, Dr Adrian Simper, of the NDA, Prof Andrew Sherry, University of Manchester, Lord Hutton and Prof Simon Pimblott, of Dalton Cumbrian Facility

The Rt Hon The Lord Hutton of Furness, who officially opened the Facility, said: "I commend The University of Manchester and the NDA for the foresight, vision and commitment they have shown in creating this new Dalton Cumbrian Facility - a world-leading facility for nuclear research, for nuclear skills development and a major driver for socio-economic growth in West Cumbria."

Professor Colin Bailey, Vice President and Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, said: "The University of Manchester's Dalton Cumbrian Facility will integrate with the UK's other nuclear R&D facilities to establish a truly unique and world-leading capability.

"Working closely with 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."

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