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[science news] UK largest nuclear institute

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vincent    154
Manchester launches UK's largest nuclear institute

A century after Ernest Rutherford embarked on his research at The University of Manchester leading to the eventual splitting of the atom, the University is set to take another pioneering step towards the advancement of nuclear technology, teaching and research.

On July 18th the University will launch The Dalton Nuclear Institute with the aim of it becoming one of the world's elite centres for nuclear teaching and research. The Institute will be the largest of its kind in the UK with plans more than 100 academics, research staff and students.

Professor Richard Clegg, who has come from industry as the Director of Science at British Nuclear Fuels (BNFL), has been appointed as the Director of the Institute and will be responsible for leading Dalton and helping it to achieve its vision.

"By 2015 if people want to do nuclear research they will have the choice to go to two or three leading Universities in the world and Manchester will be one of them," says Professor Clegg.

"Manchester has everything on its side including history, geography and expertise. Rutherford carried out his research here, the northwest has the UK's largest nuclear community and we have the expertise in the University that will make it happen."

The Institute will be based within the University's Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences but will also draw on expertise from faculties like medicine and humanities across the University. It will consist of seven major research groups and will underpin the training and education of the UK's future graduates for the nuclear sector.

"Dalton will be the hub for all nuclear research and education at Manchester and will also act as a bridge to other world class research organisations around the world, accessing international know-how and technology for the benefit of industry and the UK," says Professor Clegg.

The Institute will boast some of the UK's most advanced university based nuclear research facilities including the recently refurbished and re-equipped Centre for Radiochemistry Research supported by Nexia Solutions and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA). Through forming partnerships with industry, the Institute will also gain access to specialist facilities broadening the types of research it can undertake.

Dalton's research will encompass electricity generation, fuel cycles, waste treatment and disposal, decommissioning, policy and regulation. It will also tie its research into advancing areas such as nuclear medicine and fusion.

Dalton has been a leading player in the establishment of NTEC - a consortium of UK Higher Education Institutions offering a portfolio of postgraduate education in nuclear science and technology - and hosts its coordination centre.

Nationally, Dalton will link with the government, industry, sector groups and learned societies to address the nuclear skills shortfall, identified in a number of studies including the DTI's report on Radiological Skills and the HSE's Report on Higher Education in Nuclear Training.

Internationally, Dalton will support educational initiatives such as the World Nuclear University and become involved in collaborative advanced reactor development programmes such as Generation IV - ensuring the UK maintains access to international know-how, technology advances and teaching material.

Professor Alan Gilbert, President and Vice-Chancellor of The University of Manchester, said: "The launch of the Dalton Nuclear Institute is a major development in the University of Manchester's long and proud history. Nuclear power will undoubtedly play a significant role in addressing the needs of future energy production and it is vital that the University is at the forefront of the UK's nuclear research and education agenda. 

"Given time, I strongly believe that Dalton will not only prove to be a flagship for research excellence in the UK, but will also provide the nuclear industry with a rich source of highly-trained graduates from a University with an exemplary reputation for pioneering research in this field stretching back more than a hundred years."

The Dalton Nuclear Institute will be launched at the Royal Academy of Engineering, London, on the evening of July 18th. If you would like to attend this event please contact Simon Hunter.

For further information:

Simon Hunter, Media Relations Officer, telephone: 0161 2758387/07717881569

Notes to Editors:

The Heads of the seven research groups are: Professor Francis R Livens (Radiochemistry), Professor Graham Thompson (Reactor Technology and Decommissioning Engineering), Professor David Vaughan (Environmental), Professor Greg Butler (Policy and Regulation), Professor Andrew Sherry (Materials Performance), Professor Terry Jones (Medical) and Dr Jon Billowes (Physics). New professorial level appointments are also being planned.

Professor Richard Clegg has worked in the nuclear industry for BNFL for over twenty years. He has held a number of positions within BNFL, including Head of the Corporate Research Laboratory and Director of Science.

Pictures of Richard Clegg available on request.

The Dalton Nuclear Institute is supported by the North West Development Agency and BNFL.

The University of Manchester is a member of the World Nuclear University and the NEPTUNO European network for nuclear training.

Manchester offers an MSc (including PG Dip., PG Cert.) in Nuclear

Engineering.

NTEC will deliver an innovative M.Sc and CPD programme in Nuclear Science & Technology, receiving its first students in September 2005.

The University of Manchester has received an investment of ?20m over in this the past five years from industry (BNFL), Research Councils and University Research Alliances.

The Nuclear and Radiological Skills Study was published by the Department of Trade and Industry in December 2002.

The Dalton Nuclear Institute's claim to be the largest Nuclear Institute in the UK is based on number of academic and research staff.

Nobel Prize Winner Ernest Rutherford carried out his research into the transmutation of matter at The University of Manchester. Later in 1908 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry.

John Dalton together with Manchester businessmen and industrialists established the Mechanics' Institute in 1824, the precursor to The University of Manchester, to ensure that workers could learn the basic principles of science. In 1803 Dalton famously unveiled his Atomic Theory which was the basis for all subsequent chemical investigations and marked the end for Alchemy.

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