Nuclear manufacturing research centre opened

29 May 2012

Britain's Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (NAMRC) was officially opened yesterday by the Duke of York in his fifth supportive visit to the supply chain initiative.

Located in South Yorkshire, NAMRC is managed by the University of Sheffield with support from the University of Manchester Dalton Institute. It has now attracted 34 industrial member companies, including leaders in the UK nuclear supply chain and both reactor vendors with products on the UK market, Areva and Westinghouse.

A typical project for NAMRC might see a member company contribute towards purchasing a new manufacturing machine and support research into how to push its envelope of performance. With the cooperation of the machine supplier, which may also be a member, the firms could solve manufacturing problems at NAMRC without sacrificing capacity or performance at their core production facilities. The ultimate goal of all this is to help UK companies improve their capabilities in the manufacturing of components for nuclear applications as part of the country's Low Carbon Industrial Strategy of July 2009.

Duke of York, May 2012, inset Queen Elizabeth II (NAMRC) 460x272
Like mother, like father, like son: The Duke of York wears 3D glasses during his visit yesterday. Inset, Queen Elizabeth II operates a digger in 3D to break ground for the facility in November 2010 while the Duke of Edinburgh looks on

The NAMRC building was completed in October 2011 and NAMRC has now installed some metalworking machines, a robotic cell and a virtual reality centre. The total cost so far, allowing for in-kind contributions from members, was put at about £25 million ($39 million). The building itself meets top energy efficiency standards and comes complete with a 900 kWe wind turbine and 320 kWt ground source heat pumps. It includes offices, meeting rooms and support laboratories.

Some work is already underway at NAMRC but activity should be at full scale in 12-18 months' time. More industrial equipment will be installed by then and managers expect more members to be participating. As well as post-graduate researchers from allied universities, some 250 young apprentices from members companies are expected to cycle through each year.

Yesterday was the Duke of York's fifth visit, he said, when unveiling a plaque to mark the official opening of NAMRC's 8000 square metre building. Science and engineering were about "excitement, innovation, inspiration and above all about the ability to solve the 21st century's problems," he remarked, adding that he would encourage any young person to consider a career in engineering.

"When we consider the future energy needs, not just of the UK but of the globe, something needs to be done to supply the huge increase in energy demand," said the Duke. It didn't matter whether or not the UK sees new nuclear power plants being built through coming decades because, he said, "in the future we will have to have some part of the energy sector supplying nuclear power" and to support that the UK "must be able to deliver some part of the supply chain."

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News