Contractor Morgan Sindall has handed over the Dalton Cumbrian Facility to joint venture clients Manchester University and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.
The 19,000 sq ft centre is on the Westlakes Science & Technology Park, near Whitehaven in West Cumbria. The centre contains computer modeling facilities and large-scale experimental laboratories, including extensive irradiation facilities and associated analytical and inspection equipment, to provide a comprehensive research environment.
Property consultants Drivers Jonas Deloitte project managed the construction phase. Wilson Mason Architects designed the building. The value of the main construction contract was £4.8m and around £2.2m of this was spent on local contractors and suppliers.
A spokesman for the NDA and Manchester University said: "DCF is designed to complement and significantly expand the nuclear research and education capability of the UK's university sector and has the overall aim of delivering world-leading nuclear research and transferring knowledge to industry.
"DCF will add to the growing research, education and skills infrastructure in West Cumbria, key elements in the Britain's Energy Coast programme that is designed to build on West Cumbria's world-leading capability in the nuclear industry to deliver diverse and sustained economic wellbeing for the area.
"Research at DCF will focus primarily on the areas of radiation science, radiochemistry, nuclear engineering decommissioning and the management of radioactive waste. The facility will become fully functional during 2012 following delivery and commissioning of a particle accelerator, the largest and most complex research equipment to be housed at DCF."
Once fully operational DCF will house around 50 post-doctoral and PhD researchers, academic lecturers and operating personnel and is expected to attract leading UK and overseas academics to carry out research and deliver lectures in West Cumbria.