Contractor wins deal to build bunkers to shield world’s most powerful laser
06 October 2023
UK-based construction and consultancy company Mace has won a deal to design and build bunkers to shield the world’s most powerful laser.
Mace has been appointed main contractor under a pre-construction services agreement (PCSA) by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) for the extension and part refurbishment of the existing Vulcan Laser Facility on the Harwell Campus, Oxford.
Mace will carry out the design, buildability, construction, programme, and planning services.
The redeveloped Central Laser Facility (CLF) will house the new Vulcan 20-20 laser, the most powerful laser in the world.
Scientists working on nuclear fusion will use the laser to understand plasma, new renewable energy sources and study electromagnetic fields.
Mace will lead on the installation of two seven-meter-tall targeting bunkers, with walls and soffits up to two 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 will partner with the same companies it worked with on the construction of the existing Extreme Photonics Applications Centre (EPAC) for the CLF & STFC.
Those companies include: Fairhurst Design Group (architect), Glanville (civil and structural engineers), Hoare Lea (mechanical and electrical engineering), BB7 (fire engineering) and RSK (acoustic engineering).
Mace has been working with the STFC since 2017 and delivered three research facilities - the Rosalind Franklin Institute, the National Satellite Test Facility and the Extreme Photonics Applications Centre.