National Nuclear Laboratory


Sunday 25 May 2014

NNL Welcomes Major Developments in UK Nuclear R&D

NNL Welcomes Major Developments in UK Nuclear R&D

The UK’s National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) today welcomed a series of Government announcements relating to the future of nuclear research and development in the UK.

The Government’s response to a report by Chief Scientific Advisor Sir John Beddington, also published today, includes a series of measures which place NNL at the forefront of nuclear R&D in the UK, including:

  • Government will change the mission and role of NNL, so that it plays a more central role in advising Government on nuclear matters and in strategic research projects.
  • Government have committed £15M for a new world class National Nuclear Users Facility for National Laboratories, universities and companies carrying out research into nuclear technology. The NNUF will have centres at NNL’s facilities on the Sellafield site, the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy in Oxfordshire and The University of Manchester’s Dalton Cumbrian Facility.
  • NNL will take on new responsibility for hosting the Nuclear Innovation Research Office (NIRO) which will develop and take forward the work of the newly created Nuclear Innovation Research Advisory Board (NIRAB) in helping to define a national programme of nuclear energy R&D for the UK.
  • Government have committed to work with NNL and the NDA to conclude, by the end of 2013, an assessment about commissioning Phase 3 of NNL’s flagship Central Laboratory in West Cumbria.

These positive developments come shortly after the Government’s commitment earlier this month to invest £12.5M for the UK to join the Jules Horowitz Test Reactor programme in France. UK participation in this project is also to be led by NNL.

NNL Managing Director, Professor Paul Howarth, commented:

“These announcements represent a major step forward in returning the UK to the global “top table” of nuclear R&D. This is great news for the UK nuclear industry, for the R&D community and for NNL. I am particularly pleased that Government have entrusted NNL with such a central role in so many strands of this work as we go forward, and I look forward to working with Government, academia and the wider industry to take forward these important measures.”

Notes for editors

  • The UK’s National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) is a company owned by the UK Government. It operates as a commercial business and currently receives no direct grant funding from Government. NNL is currently run as a Government-owned, contractor-operated (GOCO) body by the management contractor SBM, a consortium consisting of Serco, Battelle and the University of Manchester. The GOCO arrangement has helped to put NNL on a sound commercial footing with increased confidence from NNL’s stakeholders in its reputation for delivering applied science solutions to the nuclear industry. SBM will continue to operate NNL until April 2014 when the governance arrangements will change. 
  • NNL has over 10,000 person-years of nuclear industry experience across the whole nuclear fuel cycle. 
  • NNL provides the experts and technologies to ensure the UK nuclear industry operates safely and cost effectively today and for the future. The company has also provided support and services to the UK and other Governments and to the European Union. 
  • NNL has facilities at Sellafield and Workington in Cumbria, Preston in Lancashire, Risley in Cheshire, Stonehouse in Gloucestershire and Harwell in Oxfordshire.

For more information, contact:

Adrian Bull, Director of External Relations+44 (0)7894


Gareth Thomas, Communications Manager+44 (0)7740