National Nuclear Laboratory


Thursday 3 March 2016

NNL and CEA Agree to Co-Operate on Nuclear Research


The UK’s National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) and the French Commissariat a l’Energie Atomique et aux Energies Alternatives (CEA) have today signed a Letter of Intent, aimed at closer collaboration in the field of nuclear energy research.

The agreement recognises that the two nations share many similarities in terms of their nuclear heritage, having both embraced the full nuclear fuel cycle (including reprocessing, waste management and decommissioning) and having both experienced extensive programmes of reactor design, build and operation over several decades. Building on this common background, the agreement will seek to identify opportunities for mutually-beneficial collaboration. These are likely to include aspects of work in the following areas:

  • Possibilities for optimising the usage of, and investment in, nuclear R&D facilities in both countries
  • Scientific and technical support to current nuclear systems and to decommissioning
  • Scenario planning for fleet deployment, research and developments programmes
  • Support for the development of future nuclear systems

Commenting on this development, today, NNL’s Managing Director, Prof Paul Howarth, said:

“The UK and France are two of the leading nuclear nations, both with proud histories of taking scientific innovation through development and into full scale operation all across the fuel cycle. I’m delighted that we are entering a new era of closer mutual co-operation and I am sure this will help us to identify many areas where we can collaborate on programmes, facilities and skills going forward.

Both countries are characterised by an aging demographic in their workforces, and whilst there are strong signs in both nations of excellent people being recruited into the sector in great numbers, there may still be niche areas where specialist skills are stretched as expert scientists retire. One benefit of this collaboration will be the opportunity for Britain and France to work together to minimise the impact of these pinch-points.”