Research: ISIS Target Station 2, Didcot, Oxon

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Research The fortress of steel Five metre thick internal walls encasing a proton beam and target, and a steel frame FACT FILE incorporating a floor loading of 50t per square metre contributed to an extraordinary steel ISIS Target Station 2, Didcot, Oxfordshire tonnage for a new scientific laboratory in Didcot. Martin Cooper reports. Main client: Rutherford Appleton Laboratories Architect: Anshen Dyer Structural engineer: Deep in the south Oxfordshire countryside scientists overhead cranes, plant rooms at roof level and a lot White Young Green are awaiting the completion of a steel structure of services, all of which added to the overall struc- Shell and core contractor: quite unlike any other in the UK. The ISIS Target tural loading. Costain Station 2 at the Appleton Rutherford Laboratories “The client wanted some clear open spans and Steelwork contractor for represents one of the largest-ever UK government to provide this we had to use some large main building’s frame: Severfield- funded scientific projects and it will house an array columns spaced at 13m centres. The building has Reeve Installation steelwork team: of research equipment which needs to be surround- three spans, the widest of which is 30m, so to carry ISIS and Corus Northern ed by 5m thick steel and concrete walls in order to services over this area we then needed a lot of sup- Engineering Services contain radiation. porting steelwork.” Project value: £140M The project can actually be described as a steel But it is inside the structure where the major- Steel tonnage: 32,000t structure within a steel structure. Sheltering the ity of the project’s steel has been installed. This equipment and research area, the building compris- is to shield and encase a proton beam within a es a large steel shed-like structure, which although “It’s a massive 143m-long tunnel and a erected in a traditional method, contains nearly tungsten target inside a twice the amount of steel required for a normal undertaking and structure known as the commercial building of the same size. one that will have ‘Monolith’. “There is more than 28,000t of steel used inside In summary, once the the structure,” says Jonathan Carkeet, ISIS Installa- huge benefits for facility is up and running tion Manager. “Because of this we have a floor load- a proton beam will be science.” ing of 50t per square metre, which is incredible.” fired down the tunnel at a Consequently, to take this into account steelwork tungsten target to produce neutrons which are then contractor Severfield-Reeve erected the building’s used in materials experiments. There is a very real main frame using predominantly large 916 x 419 chance of radiation leakage and so the tunnel and columns, which helped the overall steel tonnage monolith are both clad in steel slab and concrete to reach 1,600t for the external frame’s steelwork. prevent this. Arthur Rowell, White Young Green’s Project En- Approximately 23,000t of steel has been placed gineer, explains the building’s frame may look like around the beam’s tunnel as a protection against an ordinary shed but it had to support three internal radiation. Incidentally, the beam itself originates 14 NSC October 2007


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