National Nuclear Laboratory


Monday 13 July 2020

NNL Welcomes Government Funding for Advanced Nuclear Technology

NNL welcomes the announcement by Government of a substantial £40 million programme of investment in advanced nuclear energy technology. The funding – much of which is directed to supporting three Advanced Modular Reactor (AMR) projects – is an important step in realising the potential opportunity for nuclear energy to underpin the UK’s commitment to achieving Net Zero.

The financial support is part of the £180 million Nuclear Innovation Programme (NIP) – which itself is part of the £505 million BEIS Energy Innovation Programme. NNL already pleased to be delivering a substantial part of the NIP in the form of the Advanced Fuel Cycle Programme (AFCP). AFCP is already working with over 100 organisations in the UK and overseas to develop the technology, capability and skilled experts needed to optimise fuel design and recycle technology for advanced nuclear systems of the future, which could include those supported by this latest announcement.

The fact that two of the three AMR projects supported by this latest funding are based in the North West of England underscores both the importance of that region to the sector and the tremendous potential to harness the capability and expertise within the North West to deliver safe, secure, reliable low-carbon nuclear energy for the UK in the future. Today’s announcement explicitly recognises that a significant proportion of the UK’s nuclear research is centred in the region between Cumbria to North Wales, and the associated opportunity for that area to benefit from this investment. Importantly, the announcement also recognises the possibility to diversify the UK’s low-carbon energy mix by using advanced nuclear reactors to produce heat for industry and zero-carbon hydrogen.

NNL Chief Executive Officer, Paul Howarth commented:

“I’m delighted to see the next tranche of Government funding from the Nuclear Innovation Programme coming forward. It’s great to see that – as well as recognising the importance of research and innovation in securing the future of nuclear energy – there is a focus on the North West of England, where NNL has the bulk of its activity, and on exploring new ways to use nuclear power, such as heat and hydrogen.”

The full announcement can be found here

At the same time, Government published a substantial piece of related work carried out by NNL – looking at the UK R&D capability and supply chain opportunities in the area of AMR deployment. That work can be found here.