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Sat October 20 2018

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Northumberland company to build Antarctic research labs

7 Mar Northumberland-based Merit Holdings has been picked by British Antarctic Survey (BAS) to build laboratories for the RRS Sir David Attenborough research vessel.

The contract, which was awarded by the Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC) and BAS, involves building container laboratories for radionuclide and ‘ultraclean’ work, as well as a constant-temperature experimental aquarium.

The three laboratories will be constructed at Merit’s specialist fabrication facility in Northumberland before being deployed on the RRS Sir David Attenborough once the new vessel completes sea trials.

British Antarctic Survey project manager Andy Barker said: “Specialist laboratories are a key feature of the RRS Sir David Attenborough and we look forward to their installation later this year.”

Merit Holdings managing director Tony Wells said: “We are delighted to have been awarded this project, which is our third for NERC and BAS. Our specialist fabrication centre in Cramlington is designed specifically for this type of specialist work and uses segregated areas to avoid cross contamination and ensure the highest quality construction for clean environment facilities.”

The laboratories will be lifted on to the Sir David Attenborough in the autumn. The ship is commissioned by NERC, built by Cammell Laird and operated by BAS and is one of the most advanced polar research vessels in the world. It will operate as a multi-disciplinary research platform from 2019.


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