National Nuclear Laboratory


Thursday 19 January 2017

Sellafield Ltd and the National Nuclear Laboratory Agree to Collaborate in the National Interest

Tony Fountain, Chairman of Sellafield Ltd, and Sir Andrew Mathews, Chairman of the National Nuclear Laboratory Ltd (NNL), have signed a Collaboration Agreement.

The Collaboration Agreement sets out the principles by which our two Government-owned organisations will work together, in partnership, to deliver more value to the UK by developing technical solutions to support delivery of Sellafield Ltd’s mission. It is recognised that it is in the public interest for both organisations to collaborate to deliver the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s objective to accelerate hazard reduction and clean-up activities on the Sellafield site.

Sellafield Ltd and NNL have a long history of working together to deliver research and development to underpin new plant processes and to make improvements to current operations at Sellafield. Some recent successes include work by NNL and others in support of Sellafield’s Box Encapsulation Plant (where industrial robots are being adapted for use in a specialist nuclear environment for the management of challenging nuclear waste) and the work carried out jointly by Sellafield Ltd, NNL, NDA and academia which identified a simpler way to deal with intermediate level waste, (which in turn is set to reduce the site’s clean-up bill by hundreds of millions of pounds).

This Collaboration Agreement builds on these – and many other – successes and outlines the overarching principles that will be applied when Sellafield Ltd and NNL work together.  These principles will allow Sellafield Ltd and NNL to focus both on developing new technologies and on sourcing them from the supply chain, other national laboratories and academia, so that cost-effective and innovative research and development can be used to accelerate the hazard and risk reduction work on the Sellafield site.


Dr Rebecca Weston (Technical Director for Sellafield Ltd) commented:

“To be successful the futures of Sellafield Ltd and NNL are inextricably linked. The history, knowledge and experience shared by the respective technical teams, as well as the physical integration of facilities on the Sellafield site reinforce these links. It is therefore important to recognise this in the formal relationship between the organisations and this is why I’m very pleased to have the Collaboration Agreement in place. There are challenging times ahead to work out how to meet the needs of all our stakeholders and this won’t be possible unless we work together collaboratively.”

Dr Paul Howarth (Managing Director of NNL) added:

“Sellafield Ltd has always accounted for the largest portion of our work, and around half of our workforce – and our biggest nuclear laboratories – are based on the Sellafield site. Within NNL we have a good deal of science, technology and innovation which can help to reduce the cost and timescales of the clean-up mission whilst improving safety. It therefore makes perfect sense for us to seek a more collaborative working arrangement between the two Government-owned bodies in the national interest. I’m delighted that this Agreement builds on the excellent links which already exist between us and I am confident that we will see even more success ahead for both organisations – and for the UK’s nuclear sector as a whole – over the coming years.”

Media contacts:

Sellafield LtdRuth Hutchisonruth.hutchison@sellafieldsites.com019467 86227

NNLAdrian 836553