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The Queen officially launches construction of the Nuclear AMRC

posted 19 Nov 2010, 01:13 by RiDO Rotherham   [ updated 19 Nov 2010, 02:25 ]
Her Majesty The Queen, accompanied by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, has officially launched building work on the new Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre during a visit to the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham.

Her Majesty donned a set of virtual reality glasses to remotely activate a digger from inside the AMRC's MANTRA (Manufacturing Transporter). MANTRA is a customised lorry and trailer designed to give aspiring young engineers a hands-on experience with state-of-the-art manufacturing technologies, including a 3D virtual reality system used for product design, simulation and training.

The Nuclear AMRC is a new collaboration between the University of Sheffield and the University of Manchester, with the backing of the Government and leading companies involved in building the new generation of civil nuclear power stations. Based on the same collaborative model as the AMRC, the Nuclear AMRC will help UK companies become global leaders in the production of components and systems for the new generation of nuclear power stations. 

The Nuclear AMRC building will sit alongside the established AMRC Factory of the Future, on the AMP, the UK’s premier advanced manufacturing technology park. It will incorporate 8000 sq m of factory-scale research facilities, laboratories, and office and meeting space. The landmark building is scheduled for completion in autumn 2011 and is expected to create circa 100 direct staff, including academic researchers, technicians and apprentices, with hundreds more in supply chains across the region.

During their visit, Her Majesty The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh toured the facilities of the AMRC Factory of the Future, and viewed research projects that AMRC researchers are leading for partner companies including Boeing, BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce. Her Majesty also met with AMRC apprentices, who talked about how they are benefiting from the apprenticeship programme. 

Professor Keith Ridgway OBE, founder and research director of the AMRC and programme director of the Nuclear AMRC, said: 
"We are very proud to welcome Her Majesty to the AMRC at this very exciting time. Over the past decade, the AMRC with Boeing has supported hundreds of manufacturing businesses and helped make sure that British engineering knowhow can compete with the world's best. The Nuclear AMRC will take this technological excellence into new markets, and help British companies supply the new generation of power stations worldwide."

Funding totalling £22million for the NAMRC was announced in December 2009 by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) and Yorkshire Forward with the investment into Yorkshire and Humber’s manufacturing industry expected to put the region at the very heart of the UK’s energy sector.

Terry Hodgkinson CBE, Chair of Yorkshire Forward attended the event and commented: 

“We are honoured that Her Majesty The Queen can join us today to launch the construction of the NAMRC, a facility which will put this region at the very heart of the UK’s energy sector for many years to come.   

“Yorkshire Forward has worked closely with partners and Government to secure investment for the NAMRC and in doing so, the cutting edge facilities at the AMP and the quality of our region’s academic and business skills base have been recognised.

“The UK's nuclear programme is expected to create over 4,500 engineering jobs over the next 25 years and well over a £1bn a year to the industry. Today’s start on site cements Yorkshire and Humbers position as a centre of excellence for manufacturing, to a global marketplace, securing and creating jobs now and in the future.” 

Yorkshire Forward’s investment in the NAMRC is the latest in a long line of strategic investments supporting advanced manufacturing across Yorkshire and Humber, including over £80million in the AMP since its inception. 

The Vision for the AMP was also recently extended for a further three years, with partners UK Coal, ensuring that ‘a platform for the exploitation of current and new manufacturing and material technologies to strengthen the regional economy and provide a competitive advantage to tenants and their partners in selective industry sectors’ until 2013.