As the UK further cements itself among the global leaders of nuclear innovation and development, a lot of exciting news came out of the most recent Nuclear Industry Association’s ‘Nuclear Week in Parliament’ which took place in September.
The annual programme of events, held for public and private sector representatives to engage with key stakeholders and Parliamentarians, helped showcase the expertise and specialisms of Birchwood Park’s occupiers, which operate in a wide range of sectors including energy (new build, decommissioning, mini rectors), defence, robotics, AI and nuclear supply chain management.
Earlier this year, the Government also committed substantial funding with occupiers at Birchwood Park to continue to propel nuclear innovation and development further cementing our status as the UK’s leading nuclear cluster.
One significant investment of up to £22.5 million was earmarked for the Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation UK. This funding is aimed at advancing the design of a high-temperature micro modular reactor (AMR) specifically tailored to meet the demands of the UK industrial sector.
Additional funding of up to £15 million was awarded to the National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL), to help accelerate the development of a high-temperature reactor, capitalising on the Laboratory’s previous success in Japan.
MoltexFLEX, a UK-based molten salt reactor developer situated in Birchwood, was also allocated just over £1.2 million to construct and operate essential rigs for the advancement of molten salt fuel technology. Molten Salt Reactors (MSRs) represent an alternative in advanced modular reactor technology, utilising molten salt both as a coolant and fuel. This innovation offers safety advantages compared to traditional fuel sources.
These strategic investments underscores Birchwood Park’s recognition as one of the most successful centres for Nuclear Services in the UK. Our roster of nuclear-based conglomerates certainly welcomed this commitment from the Government, and hope that it will help further boost the groundbreaking work already happening here.
Just last year the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (Nuclear AMRC) located to the Park due to our pioneering facilities which make the location a prime destination for nuclear investment.
Led by industry experts to help UK companies secure work across the nuclear sector in new build, operations and decommissioning, the Nuclear AMRC is adapting advanced manufacturing techniques used in shipbuilding, aerospace and other sectors for use across the nuclear sector.
The Nuclear AMRC’s facilities include a new modular manufacturing R&D centre here at the Park.
With other global powerhouses of the industry using our cutting-edge facilities to house and develop new nuclear technologies, the Park will continue to help revolutionise this industry and be the driving force for the UK’s new nuclear programme.
Most recently, Birchwood Park hosted Nu-Tech Exhibitions + Events’ Engineering & Technology Solutions Exhibition.
With more than 75 exhibits and displays coming together with representatives from all levels of the nuclear supply chain space descending onto EngineRooms, the exhibit encouraged networking and collaborative opportunities with some of the most influential industry professions in the sector, many of which already call Birchwood Park home.
The exhibition provided businesses across the sector, from multinational organisations to SMEs and startups, the platform to showcase their own innovative capabilities and technological developments, whilst also enabling them to form contact building opportunities with some of our most recognisable occupiers.
The Park is now home to the largest concentration of nuclear organisations in UK, including giants of the industry such as global technical and professional services firm, Jacobs, the Government-owned nuclear services technology provider, NNL, the engineering giant, Nuvia, Cavendish Nuclear and the globally renowned manufacturer and nuclear, Rolls-Royce, which is leading on the development of a small modular reactor.
Coinciding with the bi-annual exhibition, the Nuclear Industry Association (NIA) also utilised the EngineRooms to host the NIA Decommissioning & Waste Management Group.
A melting pot of industry insight into the nuclear sector’s latest developments, the NIA group shared best practices whilst providing a better understanding of the strategic work programmes that are happening both domestically and abroad.
The Northern Nuclear Alliance (NNA), a membership-based organisation managed by a Steering Group, also represents supply chain tiers in the industry and uses its Birchwood Park base to promote the region as a centre of excellence for nuclear energy.
Being the host of such important events and meetings further demonstrated that the Park’s lasting legacy built over the last 60 years in nuclear development continues to influence and be at the forefront of the ever-growing nuclear industry in UK.
More importantly, it is extremely exciting to see the promising potential of the future of nuclear at Birchwood Park, and the groundbreaking work that our occupiers will continue to accomplish.