Plans for £200m radiation-source centre under review

October 12, 2001

Researchers at the Daresbury Laboratory in Cheshire are waiting to discover whether plans for a £200 million centre for radiation-source technology will be given the go-ahead.

The original bid for the Centre for Accelerator Science and Imaging and Medicine (Casim) was rejected by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council in July because it did not present a strong enough science user case.

Laboratory workers were devastated, as the project had been endorsed in March by then trade and industry secretary, Stephen Byers.

An EPSRC spokeswoman denied that there had been a conflict with the Office of Science and Technology because the proposal bypassed the council and went direct to the minister. She said the council was watching "with interest" to see the new proposal, which is due to be reviewed by end of the year.

The proposal is to be included in the 2002 spending review. A spokeswoman for the Department of Trade and Industry said: "The decision on how best to take the work forward will be considered alongside other spending priorities over the next few months in discussion with ministers."

Mike Poole, a member of the Casim steering committee at the Daresbury Laboratory, said: "The EPSRC is happier now that the proposal is going through the spending review. There have been big changes to it since July."

Under the plans, a proton cyclotron, costing up to £100 million, would also be built at Daresbury. It could be part funded by industry and the National Health Service.

Casim was originally entered for a review of science for the northwest commisioned by Lord Sainsbury, which had £25 million allotted to it. There was not enough money to fund Casim, but it was flagged as a worthy project.

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