The legacy of nuclear at Birchwood Park, which continues to thrive in 2023 and beyond

10 March 2023

Nuclear History

As the North West’s largest out-of-town business destination, Birchwood Park is a long-established centre for innovation in the science and nuclear industry.

The Park is one of the most important clusters in the UK for the nuclear industry, employing over 4,000 people. and is home to many nuclear-related businesses. Among these include the global technical and professional services firm, Jacobs, the Government-owned nuclear services technology provider, NNL, the engineering giant, Nuvia, Cavendish Nuclear and Rolls-Royce

The evolution to become a thriving nuclear hub, dates back to the 1950s when the UK Government converted a former ordnance factory, which occupied the site where Birchwood Park now stands, into the base of the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA).

Marking the beginning of Birchwood’s association with nuclear in 1956, the UKAEA established a centre for nuclear research and development where it oversaw all aspects of the nuclear fuel cycle in the UK from new build to decommissioning.

Undergoing rapid expansion in the subsequent years, the UKAEA soon became a major employer in the region and at the height of its influence, boasted a workforce of more than 45,000 across the UK.

As this enabled the site to gain recognition as a hub for nuclear engineering research, training, and innovation, the British Nuclear Fuels (BNFL) opted to continue its operations there after the production division of UKAEA was demerged in 1971.

With a solid foundation already built for nuclear research and development, the site benefited from collaboration and networking opportunities, which resulted in significant expansion. Birchwood soon solidified its position as a top nuclear research and development hub, which now houses several cutting-edge facilities.

Present day

With the nuclear cluster continuing to grow and generate an array of high-quality, highly-skilled job opportunities with some of the most prominent companies globally, our pioneering, community-led workplace environment offers a distinctive setting for innovation and collaboration, setting it apart as a leading business destination.

Embedded into our culture, workplace wellbeing has been cemented into our commitment to innovation and sustainability, ensuring the Park remains at the forefront of all aspects of the nuclear industry, from nuclear decommissioning to new build projects and research and development.

Jacobs, the global engineering and technology company, is the largest occupier at the Park, employing over 750 scientists, project managers, engineers, and consultants.

Wood Nuclear

In 2022, the Park welcomed the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre as part of the Jacobs facilities, which is led by industry experts to help UK companies secure work across the nuclear sector – in new build, operations and decommissioning.

A world-class research centre, the Nuclear AMRC provides is adapting techniques used in shipbuilding, aerospace and other sectors for use across the nuclear sector from its modular manufacturing R&D centre here at the Park.

The Nuclear AMRC’s move to the Park is a significant development for both the organisation and the site. It will enable the Nuclear AMRC to expand its capabilities and support for manufacturers in the nuclear industry, while also further enhancing the site’s reputation as a hub for nuclear-related businesses.

The success of the Park’s nuclear hub can also be attributed to our strategic location. With ease of reach to major nuclear sites, including the Sellafield site in Cumbria and the Heysham nuclear power station, the Park has developed into a centre of expertise and knowledge in this field.

As the Park is also situated close to the major cities of Liverpool and Manchester, our nuclear occupiers are able to recruit from a wide talent pool and access university-educated and highly skilled candidates.

With accessible transport links and located close to the M6 motorway, the Park is also a convenient location for employees, clients and visitors alike, and is well-connected to the rest of the UK’s nuclear industry.

Current Occupiers