An engineering centre of excellence has been opened in Cleator Moor by Sellafield Ltd and Copeland council.
The centre, which relocates engineering and maintenance specialists from Sellafield into a refurbished unit at the Leconfield Industrial Estate, is the latest in a suite of planned investments in the community.
It was officially opened by Spot the Dog, a robotic canine developed by Boston Dynamics in the USA, which is currently being trialled for a number of uses at Sellafield and in the wider nuclear industry.
The centre hosts a range of teams working on key engineering and support systems for Sellafield, including civil engineering, radiometrics, control systems and robotics.
It is divided into seven distinct but flexible work spaces used to test equipment and solve problems without the constraints of a nuclear licensed site.
The off-site location also makes it easier for the teams to work more closely with the supply chain.
Martin Chown, Sellafield Ltd’s chief executive said: “This is a fantastic example of how we are changing how we do things at Sellafield; moving work that doesn’t need to be done on the site out into the community for mutual benefit.
“Engineering solutions play a key part in delivering our purpose of creating a clean, safe environment for future generations, and developments like this give us the space for more innovation and collaboration with our supply chain partners.
“This helps us to make the most of different skills and teams, allowing us to progress with pace and deliver greater value for the taxpayer, whilst helping to grow and diversify the local economy.”
Pat Graham, Copeland Borough Council’s chief executive, added: “This is an important milestone for the Industrial Solutions Hub and demonstrates to the community in Cleator Moor that we are serious about bringing opportunities to the town.
“To have an engineering centre of excellence at the hub, on their doorstep, along with the £20m investment that’s coming in from the Town’s Deal is a real turning point.
“Plans are underway for the next phase which will see a number of community-based initiatives take shape.”
Trudy Harrison, MP for Copeland, said: “I’m absolutely delighted to welcome this fantastic investment in Cleator Moor.
“Taking complex challenges off the Sellafield site and enabling you people to be trained by established engineers is exactly what we need to grow our economy and skills base.
“By bringing these developments into our towns we can further encourage the economic regeneration of Copeland.”