The UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) has awarded Kier a £26.8m contract to build office and lab space.
Kier will build an 8,000 sq.metre research and development building at Culham Science Centre near Abingdon in Oxfordshire.
The four-storey office building will include a rig hall for research and development, and there will also be a multi-storey carpark. The engineering and office space will be used by multiple tenants.
The project was procured through the Crown Commercial Service (CSS) framework and construction work is set to start this autumn.
The contract follows the recent selection of the West Burton power station site in Nottinghamshire as the home for ‘STEP’ (Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production), the UK’s first prototype fusion energy plant which aims to be built by 2040.
The UK government is providing £220 million of funding for the first phase of STEP, which will see the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) produce a concept design by 2024.
‘Fusion technology cluster’
Antonia Jenkinson, UKAEA’s chief financial officer and director of property, said she was confident of finding tenants: “We believe fusion could be part of the world’s future energy mix, and are working with a wide range of science, engineering, and technology companies at our Culham Science Centre to achieve it.
“Our work here continues to create jobs and drive economic growth, while helping place the UK at the forefront of the international scientific community.
“This new investment into Culham will help support companies contributing to the UK’s world-recognised fusion technology cluster, while developing a supply chain and skills base required to solve challenges across a much broader range of sectors.
“The development of public and private partnerships is of huge benefit to our mission to lead the delivery of sustainable fusion energy. We’ve had strong interest in the new building, which will be versatile and support the growth of innovative companies aligned to UKAEA’s own aims.”
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