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London Build

06 Oct 2023

Mace wins work on ‘world’s most powerful laser’ facility

Mace wins work on ‘world’s most powerful laser’ facility

Mace is set to work on a facility near Oxford that will house the world's most powerful laser.

Under a preconstruction services agreement (PCSA) with the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), Mace will lead a team to extend and partially refurbish the Central Laser Facility (CLF) in the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, which is located on the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus.

Mace will carry out design, buildability, construction, programme and planning services. It did not disclose the PCSA timeframe or the value of the deal when asked by Construction News.

The CLF upgrade is intended to “significantly enhance” the research capabilities of the facility (pictured), the contractor noted in a statement.

STFC is part of the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) non-departmental public body, which in late September awarded £85m in funding for the CLF upgrade and construction of the Vulcan 20-20 laser.

UKRI described Vulcan 20-20 as “the most powerful [laser] in the world”. Its construction will aid scientific research on nuclear fusion, superheated matter (plasma), new renewable energy sources and electromagnetic fields.

According to UKRI, the laser will generate a main laser beam with output of 20 petawatts and will also include eight high-energy beams with an output of up to 20 kilojoules.

Mace will lead on the installation of two 7 metre-tall targeting bunkers, with walls and soffits up to 2 metres thick. These structures are made with a specialised radiation-resistant concrete mixture that can shield beams a billion times hotter than the brightest sunlight.

Mace has been working with the STFC since 2017 and has delivered three pioneering research facilities - the Rosalind Franklin Institute, the National Satellite Test Facility and the Extreme Photonics Applications Centre.

The firm will use experience gained from the construction of the Extreme Photonics Applications Centre for the CLF and STFC.

The firm will also partner with the same project team: Fairhurst Design Group (architect), Glanville (civil and structural engineers), Hoare Lea (mechanical and electrical engineering), BB7 (fire engineering) and RSK (acoustic engineering).

Source: Construction News

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