National Nuclear Laboratory


Sunday 25 May 2014

NNL sign MOU agreement with GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy on PRISM reactor system

The UK’s National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) is pleased today to announce the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) agreement with GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH). Under the terms of the MOU, NNL will provide expert technical input to GEH’s work to study the potential UK deployment of their innovative PRISM reactor, which GEH are proposing as a means to dispose of the UK’s plutonium while generating 600MW of low carbon electricity.

“With our recognized technical capability and extensive experience in fuel cycle analysis, we are pleased that GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy has looked to NNL to provide independent and authoritative input to the potential UK application of a PRISM reactor,”said Prof Paul Howarth, managing director of NNL, which operates a number of research facilities in the UK, including the flagship Central Laboratory on the Sellafield site.  “We look forward to working with GE Hitachi as they develop their approach to helping the UK address its plutonium legacy.”

Danny Roderick, senior vice president of new plant projects for GEH, added: “We are excited for the potential opportunity to utilise the expertise of NNL and help the UK continue to take a leadership role in the re-use of plutonium”.

By 2018, the UK will have 140 tonnes of plutonium, mostly stored at Sellafield in Cumbria.  The UK Government has confirmed its intention to re-use this plutonium in December 2011 declaring that it “remains open to any alternative proposals for plutonium management that offer better value to the UK taxpayer.”

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) has recently announced in February 2012 that it is seeking proposals for alternative approaches for management of the UK’s plutonium stocks.

NNL provides independent authoritative advice and expertise both to government and to industrial organisations, underpinned by a combination of unique expertise and access to state-of-the-art nuclear R&D facilities. NNL is currently working on a variety of programmes relating to potential plutonium reuse, ranging from MOX fuel technology to innovative approaches.

Notes for Editors

National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL)

The UK’s National Nuclear Laboratory is a leading nuclear technology services provider. The business specialises in providing customers with tailored solutions by applying the right level of technical innovation and intellectual support.

We provide services to customers across three key areas:

·Fuel Cycle Solutions – provides fundamental technical solutions to the nuclear industry including fuel cycle performance and technology development, spent fuel disposition, plant integrity and inspections, nuclear security, safety management, engineering services and modelling and simulation.

·Waste Management and Decommissioning– provides products and services to help customers reduce their through life liabilities via the development and application of technologies and techniques that assist with the decommissioning of nuclear facilities. Key services include environmental management, measurement and analysis, effluent management, waste management and processing, and immobilisation technology

·Reactor Operations Support– provides support to customers in areas such as post-irradiation examination of reactor fuel and components. Key services include endoscopy, fuel and graphite performance, metallography, post-irradiation examination and power station chemistry.

GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH)

Based in Wilmington, N.C., GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy is a world-leading provider of advanced reactors and nuclear services. Established in June 2007, GEH is a global nuclear alliance created by GE and Hitachi to serve the global nuclear industry. The nuclear alliance executes a single, strategic vision to create a broader portfolio of solutions, expanding its capabilities for new reactor and service opportunities. The alliance offers customers around the world the technological leadership required to effectively enhance reactor performance, power output and safety.

For more information contact:

Adrian Bull                                                                                                         

Director of External RelationsNational Nuclear Laboratory+44 (0) 7894