College goes nuclear with £6m project

A new energy and fabrication centre has been completed at a college on Anglesey with the aim of providing a skilled workforce for the nuclear industry.

The specialist centre is located at the Llangefni-based Coleg Menai, a further education college serving a population of about 120,000 in Anglesey and the Arfon district of Gwynedd.

Contractor Anwyl Construction completed the centre following the removal of an existing temporary tent structure on site.

The building, two-thirds funded by the Welsh Assembly, will offer skills in welding and steel fabrication, as well as specialised health and safety, and boost skills needed to de-commission the nearby Wylfa nuclear power station.

The development, which is also funded by the college and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, will play a key role in the area’s dream of becoming the Energy Island.

The centre will be equipped with specialist facilities with three main areas of focus: Nuclear, Renewals, and Fabrication and will provide courses that are designed with the input of specialists to ensure that they meet the needs of industry.

A partnership with Magnox North will ensure the centre is configured to meet the needs of the nuclear sector. This will include a Flow Loop Simulator (FLS) based on a unit at the Wylfa Nuclear Power Station, and a Human Performance Conditioning (HuP) Laboratory.

These features will be unique in both the Further and Higher Education institutions across the UK.

The centre is designed to achieve the highest “excellent” BREEAM Environmental Standard.

The renewable technologies featured in the centre include ground source heat recovery from sixteen bore-holes, each drilled 100 meters into the granite bedrock; wind turbine generation on-site; photovoltaic electricity generation on the centre roof; rainwater harvesting and recycling.

A large state-of-the-art welding and metal fabrication teaching workshop also occupies around one third of the ground floor area of the Centre.

Coleg Menai Principal Dafydd Evans said: “Our vision is certainly ambitious but we have already done a significant amount of work with key players to ensure that courses we deliver at the Energy and Fabrication Centre meet the requirements of industry.

The site, which will also house the National Skills Academy, is expected to attract over 800 students in the first year.

The centre was used recently to host a Green Power Forum (GPF), the UK wide green energy training and networking forum.

The Green Power Forum Wales is a joint initiative between GPF, heat pump manufacturer Stiebel Eltron UK, Anglesey Energy Island and Coleg Menai.

Mr Evans said: “The Green Power Forum is the first green energy conference to be held at our brand new Energy and Fabrication Centre.

“It also provides us with an opportunity to showcase the new centre to Welsh businesses and also discuss the technologies Wales should be focusing on.”

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