Mace wins concrete bunkers for world’s most powerful laser

Mace has signed a pre-construction services agreement for two bunkers to house what is set to be the world’s most powerful laser at the Harwell Campus in Oxford.

The firm will lead on installing two 7m tall targeting bunkers, with walls and soffits up to 2m thick.

These structures are made with a specialised radiation-resistant concrete mixture that can shield beams a billion times hotter than the brightest sunlight.

The ambitious £82m upgrade project will last six years and will significantly enhance the research capabilities of the existing Central Laser Facility on the Harwell Campus.

It will house the new Vulcan 20-20 laser, a world-beating super laser, that will help scientists working on nuclear fusion create the fourth state of matter, plasma, and study its containment in electromagnetic fields.

The Mace construction team is set to carry out the design, buildability, construction, programme, and planning services.

As main contractor, Mace will bring the experience it gained from the construction of the existing Extreme Photonics Applications Centre for the CLF and Science and Technology Facilities Council.

Mace will partner with the same project team – Fairhurst Design Group (Architect), Glanville (civil and structural engineers), Hoare Lea (Mechanical and Electrical engineering), BB7 (fire engineering) and RSK (acoustic engineering).

Terry Spraggett, managing director Public Sector Construction, Mace said: “We are thrilled to once again be working on such an exciting and important project for the STFC.

“I am proud that together with our partners we will play a part in delivering a project that will push the boundaries of science and research – enabling some of the key scientific breakthroughs of our time.”


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