National Nuclear Laboratory


Sunday 25 May 2014

National Nuclear Laboratory signs Historic Agreements to Grant Laboratory Access to Universities

The UK National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) is today pleased to announce the signing of two historic agreements granting academic access to its flagship Central Laboratory in Cumbria.  The first extends The University of Manchester’s existing access agreement, and the second opens up access to the University of Liverpool. Under the terms of the Licence to Occupy (LTO) agreements, staff from both of the universities will now be able to work in specified areas of the Laboratory for the purposes of their academic research. 

Today’s developments were made possible through an agreement between the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) and The University of Manchester’s Dalton Nuclear Institute, which also established the Dalton Cumbrian Facility for radiation science and engineering decommissioning.  In all, a total of 10% of the Central Laboratory is opened up for academic research and access can be made available to any UK Universities. The occupancy arrangements have been agreed with the Office for Nuclear Regulation who have confirmed they are satisfied that all appropriate safety and regulatory measures are in place, and with Sellafield Ltd as the Site Licence holder. 

NNL’s Managing Director, Paul Howarth said today: 

“In NNL we have a specific remit from the Department of Energy and Climate Change to enable the use of NNL facilities by others. It therefore gives me huge pleasure to see these arrangements – Manchester’s extension and Liverpool’s first access agreement -coming into force. I very much hope that there will be more such announcements like this in future with other leading UK universities, now that we have established the means to do this. I am also convinced that this approach is the best way for the universities to progress their important research, with the work they can do in our Central Laboratory complementing what they can achieve in their own facilities.” 

Prof Andrew Sherry, Director of Manchester University’s Dalton Nuclear Institute, commented: 

“We are delighted that the LTO academic agreement we pioneered with the NDA and the NNL has now been extended to include the University of Liverpool. We believe that nuclear research requires access to facilities capable of handling highly radioactive materials. This is why we worked hard with our partners to establish academic access to the world-leading Central Laboratory and built the Dalton Cumbrian Facility to create a nuclear research innovation hub in West Cumbria. We look forward to working with other UK institutions to establish access for their own academic research purposes.” 

Executive Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Science and Engineering at Liverpool University, Professor Steve Holloway, added:

 “I’m delighted that Liverpool, Manchester and NNL will be able to work much more closely together in these important research areas. It’s vital for our scientists to have access to world-leading facilities in nuclear research so we can remain at the cutting edge of developments in this field and build further on the expertise we’re able to offer to industry.”