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Culham Science Centre

Culham Science Centre, Abingdon, Oxfordshire
Culham Science Centre
Abingdon-on-Thames
OX14 3DB

About Culham Science Centre

Culham Laboratory (as previously known) is built upon the site of the old Royal Naval Air Station HMS Hornbill that had been commissioned in 1944. The airfield was operational as part of the Fleet Air Arm between 1944 and 1953.

In the late 1950s, the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority identified Culham as a suitable site for a brand new purpose-built laboratory for plasma physics and fusion research. Construction of Culham Laboratory started in the early 1960s, and it was officially opened in 1965. This research programme continues today through Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE) to create clean, sustainable energy sources for future generations.

2016 was a year for new beginnings. UKAEA branched out into two new exciting business areas, both housed in bespoke new buildings on the site:

  1. Materials Research Facility (MRF) established to analyse material properties to support fission and fusion research. It is part of the National Nuclear User Facility (NNUF) initiative, launched by the Government and funded by EPSRC, to set up a multi-site programme giving academia and industry access to internationally leading experimental equipment, and
  2. Remote Applications in Challenging Environments (RACE) – a new facility at Culham Science Centre – building on UKAEAs expertise in remote handling from operating JET. It will offer industry and academia access to state-of-the-art testing facilities, remote handling equipment, and expertise to design, implement and operate complete robotic and autonomous solutions.

Culham Science Centre is also investing in the future by offering youngsters apprenticeships in mechanical engineering and advanced skills. The site now comprises a cosmopolitan community of people, attracting diverse science and technology-based businesses that benefit from the unusual opportunities afforded by this unique location. You can read about the innovative work carried out by these businesses on the Culham Science Centre news and features page.

There is a range of commercial property available, with flexible terms. This means the centre can accommodate companies ranging from start-up/virtual serviced offices via the Culham Innovation Centre to laboratories/offices for mid to large organisations.

The centre boasts an excellent buffet-style restaurant that provides daily international menus lending itself to the perfect place for staff to network and relax over lunch. Students and scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs can chat over a coffee in the popular Costa Coffee lounge, also ideal for meeting clients.

The Culham Conference Centre, featuring a 200+ seat Lecture Theatre and conference rooms, can cater for small meetings through to large lectures and exhibitions.

With its green open spaces and peaceful location, it is akin to a university campus, particularly when the site becomes an international Summer School for postgraduate physics and plasma students taking part in solving sessions with a chance to tour the fusion facilities.

Getting there

By car
The centre, OX14 3DB, is located off the A415 east of Abingdon and within easy access to A34 and M40. There is ample free parking available on a first-come, first-served basis.

By rail
The centre is a short walk from Culham Station, served by First Great Western trains between London Paddington and Banbury and local trains between Didcot and Oxford.

By bus
A dedicated bus service assists site users to travel between Abingdon and the centre. The 95 and 95b bus service assists site users to travel between Didcot and the centre.

By cycle
Cyclists are encouraged to use the cycle path that runs along the A415 between Culham village past the centre and to Berinsfield.

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