National Nuclear Laboratory


Wednesday 25 November 2015

NNL MD delighted by national UK nuclear R&D programme announcement

NNL welcomes today’s announcement in the Chancellor’s Comprehensive Spending Review that some £250M will be made available over the next 5 years for an ambitious nuclear research and development programme. The research will “revive the UK’s nuclear expertise and position the UK as a global leader in innovative nuclear technologies.”

This funding builds on the £25M of UK Government investment in the UK-China Joint Research & Innovation Centre, which was announced by the Chancellor on his recent visit to Beijing and which NNL will lead for the UK.

NNL Managing Director, Paul Howarth, said:

“I’m delighted by the news that the Government has recognised the vital importance of a UK nuclear R&D programme to help return Britain to the global ‘top table’ of nuclear countries. This is the culmination of several years’ work which began with the detailed assessment of the state of nuclear R&D carried out by the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee in 2011. Since that time, NNL has been at the forefront of the call for the establishment of a national nuclear research programme and we are pleased that Government has today responded so positively to that advice. We now anticipate that NNL will play a central role in the delivery of the newly-announced programme.”

One key element of this new funding will be a programme of work to help pave the way for the one of the world’s first small modular reactors (SMRs) in the UK in the 2020s. This follows the publication, in December 2014, of a feasibility report by a consortium led by NNL into the potential impact of SMR technology on the UK energy sector and the UK nuclear supply chain.