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Pioneering Swedish research centre to be built

European Spallation Source

Engineering consultant Cowi has won the design contract for a new research facility in Sweden, which will be home to the most powerful linear proton accelerator ever constructed.

The European Spallation Source (ESS) – based in Lund – will be able to accommodate 2,000-3,000 scientists each year and could lead to innovations in environmental and energy technologies, and fundamental physics.

Cowi will undertake detailed design work as part of the contract, which is valued at more than €4.8M (£4.1M). The design phase of the project is expected to be complete by June 2017.

When complete, the building will be roughly the size of Wembley Stadium. Due to the ionising radiation, the building must meet exacting safety requirements – it should withstand a potential “one in 1M year earthquake”, meaning the walls will be up to 4m thick.

“We are honoured to be selected to lead the detailed design for the target building in a facility of these dimensions,” said Cowi market director Jacob Egede Andersen.

“It is much more than an infrastructure project. Being the world’s leading research facility using neutrons, it will make a difference to the world.”

The research facility is a European project with 15 participating countries and an expected cost of £1.5bn. The entire facility is projected to be complete by 2025. When in operation, the ESS will have a yearly operations budget of around £120M.

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