Opened in early 2016, the purpose of the South West Nuclear Hub is to facilitate leading-edge research in science and engineering, supporting the nuclear energy industry in the UK and around the world. This ranges from safe decommissioning and legacy clean-up to construction, operation and development of present and future nuclear energy systems.
The Hub draws together scientists, engineers and experts from across three sectors of Higher Education, Industry and Government to complement the UK’s research and teaching capability and support nuclear power’s contribution to a low-carbon, affordable and secure energy system for the UK. The Hub’s strategic location places it close to new build at Hinkley Point and Oldbury and within easy reach of the corporate headquarters of EDF Energy, Magnox and Horizon.
Government and agencies
- National Nulcear Laboratory
- Culham Centre for Fusion Energy
- Local enterprise partnerships
- Funding bodies, including:
- University of Bristol
- University of Oxford
- GW4 Regional alliance:
Bridging the generation gap
In its Nuclear Industrial Strategy the UK government identified that approximately one thousand additional recruits in professional engineering and project roles will be needed every year to replace those leaving the industry. Add to this the growing demand from a sustained programme of new nuclear build and it creates a huge challenge to supply the number and calibre of scientists and engineers. New teaching capacity in the region, developed in collaboration with industry partners, will ensure that the Hub produces skilled entrants, ready to be taken into the nuclear energy workforce and meet the skills gap.
The importance of nuclear energy
Nuclear fission represents the most environmentally benign method of large scale electricity production, it displaces other forms of power such as coal and gas which emit pollutants and greenhouse gas and upon which the UK is dependent on importing from a limited number of overseas sources, reducing energy security. Nuclear power is a low-carbon source of energy with generation costs below most renewable sources and capable of round the clock generation. Uranium fuel is also readily obtainable from wide range of sources. Nuclear energy is a key pillar of the UK’s strategy for affordable, secure, low-carbon energy.