A “centre of excellence” in radiochemistry is to be created in the UK by BNFL and the University of Manchester. The department at Manchester was chosen, after a year-long selection procedure, because of its high quality and its track record in radiochemistry, according to BNFL.
BNFL’s contribution to the Centre will be a £2 million investment in university research staff and studentships over the next five years. The company will also offer researchers from the university the opportunity to work at its facilities at Springfields and at Sellafield, in a new research facility due to open in 2000.
For its part, the University of Manchester will refurbish an existing suite of laboratories, and will establish a permanent BNFL chair in radiochemistry and two lectureships. It has also committed to securing additional financial support.
BNFL stressed the importance of radiochemical research to its business in nuclear services, and Sue Ion, director of technology and operations, said, “UK universities were once renowned for their expertise in this area. We recognised some time ago that we had to act quickly and decisively if radiochemistry is to be preserved before those research groups which still exist and are active in the field disappear altogether”.