UKAEA to design national thermal hydraulic facility

£40 million advanced nuclear reactor technology centre is planned for Menai Science Park in Anglesey

Artist impression of the national thermal hydraulic facility
Artist impression of the national thermal hydraulic facility

Press Release, Wednesday 28 November 2018

The UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) has been appointed by the UK and Welsh Governments to develop the outline design of a proposed £40 million national thermal hydraulic research and testing facility, to be built in north Wales.

The facility was announced in the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy’s ‘Nuclear Sector Deal’ and aims to boost the UK’s nuclear new build programme and development of Small Modular Reactors and Advanced Modular Reactors.

The proposed centre will focus on thermal hydraulics – the movement of heat and fluids in the reactor system during the conversion of nuclear energy into electricity. Detailed understanding of these processes is vital in designing safe and efficient future power stations, such as those planned for Wylfa Newydd in Anglesey and Hinkley Point C in Somerset, and in ensuring their safe operation throughout the several decades they are expected to generate electricity.

The facility could also have wider uses in non-nuclear thermal hydraulic testing.

Outline planning permission has been secured at Menai Science Park, Anglesey. The facility itself is expected to create around 30 permanent jobs, with further benefits to the local economy. The testing hardware will be accompanied by a research centre for up to 50 visiting scientists to carry out data analysis, computer modelling and simulation work. Intended to be the most modern of its kind in the world, it is seen as integral to the development of advanced nuclear technologies.

UKAEA’s role will be to work with UK companies to identify how their requirements can be met by the thermal hydraulics facility. This information will then be used to produce a design with a detailed costing and operational model, which will enable the UK and Welsh Governments to develop business cases for the funding and decide during 2019 how best to proceed with construction, commissioning and eventual operation.

Colin Walters, Project Director at UKAEA, said:

UKAEA is already working with Government and industry partners on upgrading the UK’s nuclear skills and facilities to compete with the best in the world. This key facility in north Wales will be another part of the UK’s nuclear renaissance and we are glad to have been chosen to lead it. We are now consulting with potential users of the centre so we can incorporate their requirements in the outline design.

Companies interested in participating in the design consultation should contact Amanda Brummitt, Project Manager at UKAEA:

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