Aerial view of Culham Science Centre (Photo: UKAEA)Manchester-based R&B Switchgear Group, has been appointed to deliver a project with the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA), one of the world’s leading fusion research organisations. 

The new contract will see R&B design and build a fully bespoke switchboard solution to replace 30 obsolete power distribution systems at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy, Oxfordshire. 

R&B was awarded the contract following a competitive tender process where they achieved almost full scores against the technical submission criteria. The <£1million bid to supply, install, and commission the new equipment is the third contract the engineering firm has secured in 2021. 

“The UK Atomic Energy Authority is at the very cutting edge of fusion technology, and we are delighted to be working with such a prestigious, future-facing organisation,” said director Max Beswick. 

“We knew the site would require a truly bespoke retrofit solution, especially given their current equipment has been in service for more than 50 years. 

“We considered all of the challenges and variables at play in order to design a modern-day system that will enhance the performance and longevity of their electrical assets.” 

Deputy Head of Buildings and Facilities Management Robert Sheppard, UKAEA, said: “The bid from R&B Switchgear Group was of a very high quality and gave us full confidence of successful delivery of this contract. 

“We look forward to working with them to implement these changes to our electrical infrastructure as part of our overall efforts to realise fusion energy, which has great potential for ensuring a low-carbon, sustainable source of energy over the coming decades.” 

Earlier this year, R&B was appointed by UKAEA to develop a unique retrofit solution to upgrade 55 air circuit breakers at the Culham Science Centre. It is also working to design a solution to replace ten existing English Electric CFS (combination fuse switch) switchboard frames in 2022.

Photo: Aerial view of Culham Science Centre (Photo: UKAEA)