National Nuclear Laboratory


Sunday 25 May 2014

Nuclear Innovation and Research Office (NIRO) Established

The National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) welcomes the establishment of the Nuclear Innovation and Research Office (NIRO). This was an action from the Government’s Nuclear Industrial Strategy published earlier in the year.

NIRO is hosted within NNL and is the body responsible for providing advice to Government, industry and other bodies on R&D and innovation opportunities in the nuclear sector under the guidance of the Nuclear Innovation and Research Advisory Board (NIRAB). Collectively NIRAB and NIRO have a remit to:

  • Advise Government and industry on nuclear innovation and R&D into future nuclear energy technologies,
  • Coordinate UK involvement in international nuclear programmes,
  • Ensure public R&D programmes align with industrial and energy policy aims
  • Explore how funding can be secured, not only from Government, but also from the private sector, EU and other international organisations and programmes related to future nuclear energy systems, and
  • Review at regular intervals the status of UK nuclear innovation and R&D

Initially NIRO comprises a small core team based in NNL’s Warrington office, which will be supplemented by secondees from across the nuclear sector (Government, industry and academia) as required. Gordon Bryan is appointed as the Director of NIRO with immediate effect.

Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts said today:

“The UK has a strong nuclear industry and a long and impressive track record in nuclear science, technology and innovation. Through our nuclear industrial strategy we are working in partnership with industry to build a successful future. The Nuclear Innovation and Research Office has a critical role in helping to coordinate R&D and ensuring we are well placed to grasp commercial opportunities.”

Energy and Business Minister Michael Fallon said:

“I have no doubt that the Nuclear Innovation and Research Office will be a new force in the coordination of nuclear research and development in the UK. Nuclear power is good for our energy security, good for the economy and supports jobs and thriving communities. We are committed to nuclear power as part of the low carbon mix of our future energy supply and NIRO will help ensure the UK maximises the opportunity.”

Paul Howarth, NNL’s Managing Director, commented:

“Today’s announcement is an important and welcome milestone on the journey towards re-establishing a coherent National Programme of nuclear energy R&D in the UK. Although initially NIRO will not be a large organisation we are keen to receive expressions of interest from a wide selection of interested parties, so that the resource level can grow and flex proportionately to the scope of work.”

Any organisation wishing to discuss potential participation in the activities of NIRO should in the first instance contact Gordon Bryan at