A new Centre for Nuclear Energy Technology (C-NET) that will help develop nuclear industry professionals and support nuclear R&D has secured a share of a major UK government funding initiative.
The Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) has now committed £4.4 million ($6.8 million) to the project, a small percentage of a £64.4 million ($99.4 million) package of new regional investment across the UK announced amid much fanfare by UK business secretary Peter Mandelson. Indeed, the NWDA investment is the second smallest in the list of regional investments announced by Mandelson, which includes such diverse projects as a scheme to help companies reduce their energy use, urban regeneration initiatives and funding for specific industrial installations.
C-NET is located at the University of Manchester, which is also investing £3.5 million ($5.4 million) in the scheme, and aims to increase the capability of the university sector to collaborate with industry as well as supporting industrial R&D in the reactor technology market through collaborative international research, education and skills development.
The University of Manchester announced plans to establish C-NET as long ago as February 2008, saying at the time that it expected the to start operating the same year, although funding for the venture was still being sought. Now, with nearly half of the £16 million funding for the first phase of the venture secured, the centre can move ahead to becoming operational, a NWDA spokesperson explained to World Nuclear News.
Once C-NET has been established, the long-term aim is to secure additional private sector investment to grow the centre to £25 million ($38.6 million). An additional £2.6 million ($4.0 million) will be invested by the private sector with further private sector investment being sought, according to NWDA.
The University of Manchester lays claim to the UK's largest concentration of nuclear research, training and educational activities, including the Dalton Nuclear Institute which it established in 2005 to coordinate the engagement of the university's nuclear capability with challenges including nuclear new build. Professor Colin Bailey, vice-president and dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences at the university, welcomed the announcement of the NWDA funding. "The University of Manchester is delighted that the NWDA is joining us in investing in the Centre for Nuclear Energy Technology, reinforcing our commitment to deliver research and development, education, and knowledge transfer in the nuclear sector," he said.
C-NET will focus on providing industrial R&D support and contribute to academic thinking in the four key market areas of new nuclear build; naval propulsion; providing R&D support to extend the life time of existing plants; and international advanced reactor development. The new centre will complement the UK's Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), announced in December and led by the Dalton Institute in partnership with the University of Sheffield.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News