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National Nuclear Laboratory Launches

The UK Government has today launched the new National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) for the UK.  The Rt. Hon. John Hutton MP, Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform made the announcement today at the official launch for Britain’s Energy Coast at the Sellafield Visitors Centre in Cumbria.

The NNL is based around the capability already residing in Nexia Solutions Ltd, the UK’s leading nuclear technology supplier.  Nexia Solutions is the only UK organisation with the skills, facilities and expertise to operate the NNL and is delighted that the Secretary of State has announced the intention to establish the Lab.

Dr Peter Bleasdale, Managing Director of Nexia Solutions and the NNL said: “The Government’s decision to create the NNL is wonderful news for the UK.  The Lab will build on the exceptional technical, financial and safety performance of Nexia Solutions since it was created in 2005. 

“We expect the NNL to make a massive contribution to the nuclear revival in the UK and play the key role in safeguarding and strengthening the country’s essential nuclear skills and capabilities.”

The NNL will retain the Nexia Solutions focus on customers by providing highest quality, lowest cost delivery of nuclear technology.  The Lab will be fully customer funded with no burden on the tax payer.  It will lead and integrate strategic nuclear technology programmes and offer commercial services for customers across all sectors of the nuclear fuel cycle.  It is the national centre for independent and trusted technical advice and enables Government to positively influence the development of a safe, secure and environmentally responsible nuclear industry.

The operation of the NNL will be based on collaborative working.  By design, the NNL will not contain all of the capabilities needed to deliver a full suite of nuclear R&D programmes. The Nexia Solutions capability will be at the Hub of the NNL leading and integrating large technical programmes. Key collaborators will include industry, the academic sector, research councils and international laboratories. The NNL will look to open up the nuclear technology market to competition by providing access to key facilities and skills.  Commercial operations will be spun out to assist in the development of the nuclear research market.

NNL governance will use a Government owned and Contractor operated (GoCo) model. A competition will be launched by BERR for the opportunity to manage the NNL. 

Dr Bleasdale concluded: “Exciting times are ahead for all that work in and support the National Nuclear Laboratory.  In the meantime, it’s business as usual for us as we develop the NNL during the competition process.  It’s our objective to make sure we deliver a National Lab that the nation can be proud of.”

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Gareth Thomas, National Nuclear Laboratory Communications

t: 01925 832319m: 07740 819728e: gareth.x.thomas@nnl.co.uk

Notes to Editors:

Background information

Nexia Solutions was established in April 2005 as a BNFL owned full subsidiary company.

  • The National Nuclear Laboratory’s core business is to provide the experts and technologies to ensure the UK nuclear industry operates safely and cost effectively today and for the future.
  • The NNL will lead and integrate strategic nuclear technology programmes and offers commercial technologies for customers.
  • The NNL safeguards and enhances key nuclear scientific skills.
  • The NNL operates world class nuclear technology facilities. Nexia Solutions Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of British Nuclear Fuels plc (BNFL).
  • The NNL is the national centre for trusted technical advice to Government.
  • Governance for the NNL will be managed via a Government owned and Contractor operated (GoCo) model. This model is already working well in the UK at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) and Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE).
  • The operation of the NNL will be based on collaborative working on a hub/node operating system. The NNL is at the Hub to lead and integrate and key nodes include industry, the academic sector, research councils and other National Laboratories in the US, Japan, France etc.
  • The National Nuclear Laboratory is based at six locations in the UK. The main laboratories are located at Sellafield (including Windscale) in Cumbria and Springfields in Lancashire. Workington in Cumbria is the location for non radioactive test rig work. Other research facilities are based at Harwell in Oxfordshire, Stonehouse in Gloucestershire and Risley in Cheshire.
  • The hub of the NNL features over 600 highly qualified employees (approximately 60% educated to degree level) offering 10,000 man years of nuclear technology knowledge and experience.
  • The NNL provides commercial technology services to a wide range of customers that include Sellafield Ltd, British Energy, the Ministry of Defence, UKAEA, NDA, VT Nuclear, the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) and Westinghouse.