NNUF High-flux neutron facility launched at the University of Birmingham

The UK’s first high-flux neutron facility, funded under NNUF Phase 2, has been launched at the University of Birmingham.

The facility will enable scientists to study the properties of materials used in nuclear energy production, supporting the development of the UK’s next-generation nuclear energy generators.

Scientists, Lord Willetts, and others, standing in front of the accelerator

The new accelerator at the University of Birmingham

Source: University of Birmingham


Ben Phoenix, Technical Manager at the University of Birmingham, showcasing the high flux accelerator target station

High flux accelerator target station

Photo credit: Chris Grovenor

This facility will operate at the far boundaries of scientific research and also be of enormous practical value for safe sustainable nuclear power.

Rt Hon Lord Willetts FRS, former Minister for Universities and Science.

The Birmingham neutron source is the largest of the 35 facilities funded by the £82m NNUF project to expand the UK’s ability to undertake world-class science and engineering on nuclear materials. It is very exciting to see the hard work of the team in very difficult times coming to fruition in the opening of the new centre. I am looking forward to seeing all the new data generated on neutron irradiation of materials support the nuclear renaissance in the UK that will contribute to stabilising our energy needs for many years to come.

Prof. Chris Grovenor, Principal Investigator of the NNUF Management Group 

This facility is the first of its kind in the UK and we are proud to be hosting it here at the University of Birmingham, where our experts in nuclear physics are leaders in the field. It will provide immense opportunities for national and international research collaborations, as well as helping to solve some significant challenges in energy production.

Prof. Adam Tickell, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Birmingham

Neutron Therapeutics is proud to be a part of this exciting project at the University of Birmingham. We look forward to continuing to support the important research that will be carried out here by the nuclear physics experts at the university and their many international collaborators. As the leading manufacturer of compact, high flux accelerators for boron neutron capture therapy in the hospital setting, we are particularly excited about the potential for collaborative research to drive innovation in this emerging field of cancer therapy. 

Dr Elizabeth Reczek, Chief Executive Officer of Neutron Therapeutics

Research will be initiated in areas including:

  • Gaining a better understanding of the nuclear processes associated with both fusion and fission
  • Understanding the long term effects of radiation on material used to store nuclear waste
  • Designing the targets required for next generation neutron scattering facilities or subcritical nuclear reactors
  • Exploring the use of neutrons in medical therapies such as boron neutron capture therapy, used in selective treatment of cancer cells.