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NNL Managing Director participates in Prime Minister's top level business delegation to Japan

Managing Director of the UK's National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL), Paul Howarth, was part of the top level business delegation which visited Japan this week.

The group was led by Prime Minister David Cameron and included David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science, John Beddington, the Government's Chief Scientific Advisor and other leading figures from Government, the regulator and industry. During the visit UK and Japanese officials agreed and signed a Framework on Civil Nuclear Cooperation, providing the basis for UK companies to engage in multi-billion pound decommissioning opportunities in Japan. In a separate development, the UK Nuclear Industry Association and the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum signed a Memorandum of Understanding to further industrial collaboration between companies from the UK and Japan.

Paul Howarth said: "I was delighted to be invited as a delegate on this tremendously important trip to Japan. There is clearly a huge opportunity ahead for the UK and Japan to work together to address nuclear challenges across the sector - including the areas of new nuclear build, waste management and decommissioning. Development and deployment of technology can have a major impact on our collective ability to meet those challenges and take full advantage of the opportunities ahead.

In NNL we already have some very good links to Japan. For instance, one of our senior experts is currently seconded to the British Embassy in Tokyo, as First Secretary - Nuclear, to provide technical advice and support to the ongoing efforts arising from last year's incidents at Fukushima. I have been really pleased to hear very positive feedback from the Embassy staff about how that arrangement is working. Also, a couple of weeks ago we were pleased to host a visit just to our Central Laboratory facility in Cumbria from a group of experts from Fukushima University, who were very impressed with the technical capability which they saw, and who are keen to strengthen their relationship with us in the future. I hope that this visit will help to strengthen our existing ties with Japan and to foster new ones."