£4m awarded to address nuclear capability gaps

Posted on 29 Mar 2012 by The Manufacturer

£4m has been given to Manchester and Sheffield Universities to support a joint New Nuclear Build and Manufacturing programme which will research UK capability gaps in achieving nuclear ambitions.

The funding has been awarded to Manchester and Sheffield Universities by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

The award was made following on evidence from a recent House of Lords’ Science and Technology Committee report. This identified insufficient research and development capacity as a potential threat to the UK’s ability to produce power from nuclear energy.

The programme proposed by Manchester and Sheffield Universities will address these concerns and enable the delivery of a robust civil nuclear power supply in the UK. This goal will include significant investigation of the fundamentals of manufacturing for new nuclear new build and the next generation of power stations.

The collaborative programme (NNUMAN) hopes to create step-changes in the level of technology readiness for nuclear manufacturing technologies.

The most improved manufacturing processes developed in NNUMAN will be taken forward to prototype in the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (Nuclear AMRC) in Rotherham and the National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL). Through these institution manufacturers will be able to learn for themselves how to implement these processes in their facilities.

The NNUMAN programme will build on the work of the EPSRC initiative Keeping the Nuclear Option Open, bring more pragmatic insight into the new manufacturing techniques for material that can function effectively in the hostile environments of a nuclear reactor.

Professor Dave Delpy, EPSRC’s Chief Executive, said: “Having a cutting edge capability in these fields will mean we have a stronger foothold in the manufacturing sector and are able to attract the best students and researchers to the UK.”

See the May issue of The Manufacturer for an interview with Dave Delpy and gain more insight into the work EPSRC is doing with UK manufacturers.