£2.2 million UK nuclear education centre shuts

11 October 2007

A £2.2 million UK nuclear education centre created in 2004 to capitalise on decommissioning spin-offs is to close its doors due to lack of interest.

The Decommissioning and Environmental Remediation Centre (DERC), located near the Dounreay nuclear plant in northern Scotland, was set up as a major education, training and research centre to pioneer nuclear decommissioning education in the UK.

It was grant funded by the European Regional Development Fund and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, run by the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI), while the premises is owned by private firm JGC Engineering and Technical Services.

A spokesman for UHI said the closure was due to “dramatic changes” in the landscape of the nuclear industry, which had resulted in research and contract work not materialising.

DERC offered a range of courses linked to decommissioning, including postgraduate research degrees. It also undertook research and consultancy in decommissioning and environmental remediation.

DERC cost some £300,000 a year to run and is being closed following a review by UHI.

Soon after the closure announcement, the UK Nuclear National Skills Academy said it had selected a consortium consisting of four Scottish colleges to develop and implement higher national diplomas for Scotland’s nuclear employers.

The colleges include North Highland College, part of UHI, which was involved in the running of DERC, and is also located near Dounreay.

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