National Nuclear Laboratory


Thursday 29 June 2017

NNL Secures £7M Contract for Two Major Strands of National Nuclear R&D Programme

The National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) is delighted to have been awarded two major contracts by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy under the first part of the UK’s National Nuclear R&D Programme. The ambitious overall programme was announced as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review in 2015. The two contracts won by NNL relate to R&D on Advanced Nuclear Fuel and R&D on Nuclear Fuel Recycle and Waste Management.

Energy Minister, Richard Harrington said:

“I’m very pleased that the National Nuclear Laboratory has won our contracts for research on advanced fuel and recycling. Partnering with leading UK organisations in the nuclear industry will have a big part to play in helping deliver on our department’s big initiatives, including the Clean Growth Plan and the Industrial Strategy.”


The fuels work is valued at £5M and comprises an integrated programme of R&D on advanced nuclear fuels in the following areas:

  • Accident tolerant fuels and cladding development
  • Coated particle fuels
  • Plutonium based fuel
  • Reactor physics modelling, and
  • Nuclear data

The recycle and waste management work, worth £2M in total, involves research on aqueous recycle processes including:

  • Basic chemistry and technology for dissolution, separations and conversion steps
  • Active separations tests on surrogate feeds
  • Active dissolution tests on un-irradiated fuels
  • A conversion flowsheet for transuranic-containing products, and
  • A minor actinide separations flowsheet for high level waste

Both programmes of work reflect the recommendations of the Nuclear Innovation and Research Advisory Board (NIRAB), which was chaired by Dame Sue Ion.