Merit to build specialist laboratories for Antarctic research

RRS Sir David Attenborough

Merit has been awarded a highly specialised contract to construct three laboratory units for deployment by the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) on its newest research vessel, the RRS Sir David Attenborough.

The contract was awarded by the Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC) and BAS to build three 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 later this year once the new vessel completes sea trials.

These specialist laboratories are designed to operate in the most extreme temperatures and will play a vital role in the continued work of BAS research teams.

Andy Barker, Project Manager, British Antarctic Survey, said: "Specialist laboratories are a key feature of the RRS Sir David Attenborough and we look forward to their installation later this year."

Tony Wells, Managing Director, Merit Holdings, 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 British Antarctic Survey and is one of the most advanced polar research vessels in the world operating as a multi-disciplinary research platform from 2019.

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