Preston to pioneer the future of nuclear power as new £2m pilot scheme is announced at Springfields

A £2m centre to unlock advances in nuclear power is set to open in Preston.

By Catherine Musgrove
Thursday, 29th July 2021, 3:45 pm
Updated Thursday, 29th July 2021, 4:30 pm

An eight-month pilot for The Advanced Nuclear Skills and Innovation Campus will be based at a laboratory on the Springfields site in Salwick, where leaders from industry and academia - including the UCLan, the University of Manchester and the University of Sheffield - will collaborate.

Funding has come from The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, who hope the pilot will help develop and commercialise advanced nuclear technologies.

The announcement comes as the Government unveiled plans to have the latest nuclear technology up and running within the next decade and drives to reach net zero emissions.

Springfields, Salwick

Part of that involves exploring the possibility of using High Temperature Gas Reactors (HTGRs).

Dr Paul Howarth, Chief Executive Officer of the National Nuclear Laboratory, said: “Underpinning the development of these technologies, however, is continued investment in specialist skills and expertise, which is why we are excited to be hosting the new pilot for the Advanced Nuclear Skills and Innovation Campus in Preston

“Located at one of our existing cutting-edge laboratories on the Springfields site, this new pilot campus will be a focal point for collaboration between industry and academia and help unlock vital scientific advancements.”

The pilot will launch next month and will offer collaborative innovation grants from a £1milllion fund, through competitive Calls, to industry, SMEs and academia. It will also develop a range of training opportunities.

MP Mark Menzies

Fylde MP Mark Menzies hailed the announcement as "extremely good news".

He said: "Springfields is vital not just for Fylde's economy but for the entire North West with its associated supply chain.

"It is vital we maintain a highly skilled workforce in this sector to give us security and self-reliance in the nuclear industry.

"I have been pressing the government to commit to a new nuclear programme and this announcement is extremely good news for Springfields.

UCLan experts are collaborating

"I have also secured a debate on the return of Parliament to ask that all future nuclear power stations have fuel manufactured at Springfields, no matter who is building them."

Minister of State for Energy, Anne Marie Trevelyan, said:  “While renewables like wind and solar will become an integral part of where our electricity will come from by 2050, they will always require a stable low-carbon baseload from nuclear.”