A £30million investment has been injected into an Oxfordshire facility in hopes of turning it into a world-leading centre for nuclear innovation.

This funding includes the Oxfordshire Advanced Skills (OAS) opening a £13million "state-of-the-art" extension on Friday at the UK Atomic Energy Authority's (UKAEA) Culham Campus.

This is designed to provide training for apprentices in a range of industry sectors.

Total government investment from the Fusion Foundations Programme amounted to over £30 million with the aim of enabling the delivery of fusion energy "which can provide sustainable energy for future generations, by developing infrastructure, facilities, and skills in the UK."

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UKAEA chief executive, Professor Sir Ian Chapman, said: "To deliver fusion energy for future generations, it is vital to equip these generations with the necessary skills needed to lead the way in fusion and in adjacent sectors such as space, robotics and engineering.”

Fusion energy is created when a mix of two forms of hydrogen is heated to form a controlled plasma at extreme temperatures 10 times hotter than the core of the sun.

Energy created from fusion can be used to generate electricity in the same way as existing power stations.

The new building was opened by UK space industry expert Stuart Martin, from Satellite Applications Catapult, at an event featuring apprentices and staff from OAS and UKAEA.

Oxford Mail: Speakers and apprentices at OAS launch event.Speakers and apprentices at OAS launch event. (Image: UK Atomic Energy Authority.)

There were several apprentices in attendance at the event to collectively represent more than 300 current learners working for manufacturing companies in industries such as motorsport,  pharmaceuticals, maritime, space and fusion.

Space Tech apprentice, Paige Rivers said: “I was drawn to OAS by its impressive facilities and the range of equipment, but the extension takes my excitement to the next level.

"I’m really looking forward to being hands on and learning the fundamentals of engineering.

"I know that this will provide a great opportunity to jumpstart an exciting career in the space sector and I’ll be able to bring all my learning from OAS into my new workplace.”

The opening of the new Culham Campus facility completes the third and final phase of OAS training centre development which created an additional 2355 sqm of space for the facility to support the training of 90 extra apprentices.

OAS has said the extension incorporates designs "to accommodate learners with diverse mental and physical needs" including physical aids around the building as well as staff training to "create a more accessible environment" for those studying science, engineering, and technology.

Managing director of MTC Training, David Grailey, added: “The extension of OAS is a huge opportunity to seed critically important industries of the future with the talent they need to succeed and contribute positively to the UK economy."