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Open Call For Academic and Industry Proposals to Use BEIS Pilot Facility at NNL’s Preston Laboratory

The National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) is delighted to be partnering with Game Changers, delivering the pilot Advanced Nuclear Skills and Innovation Campus (ANSIC) at our Preston Laboratory.

Game Changers are inviting proposals from academic institutions and industry for access to NNL facilities, to undertake research and development projects focussing on advanced nuclear technology. This funding call will provide research grants up to a total of £400k for projects at the pilot campus.

Advanced nuclear technologies have the potential to play a major role delivering net zero. The UK has the skills and capability to ensure that we deliver on a vibrant and successful future industry, contributing to a green recovery. This is recognised in the Energy White Paper and the government’s 10 Point Plan, which have signalled a clear intention for development of advanced nuclear technologies in the UK, recognising their potential in delivering the UK’s net zero target.

The UK government has committed to significant investment in the development of small modular reactors (SMRs) and advanced modular reactors (AMRs) as part of the transition to a low carbon economy. In July 2021, the government announced plans to explore the potential of high temperature gas reactors (HTGRs) to enable an AMR demonstration by the early 2030s, to support net zero by 2050.

The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) are now funding the ANSIC pilot to enable the UK to harness new and advanced nuclear technologies towards achieving deep decarbonisation. Located near Preston on the Springfields nuclear licensed site, the campus will serve as a research and innovation hub, bringing together industry and academia to collaborate on projects designed to help accelerate the deployment of advanced nuclear technology. Integrated with NNL’s Preston Laboratory, a state-of-the-art nuclear research facility, ANSIC will allow researchers and innovators to access some of the world’s most advanced nuclear facilities and receive support from technical and operational subject matter experts.

Innovation, specialist skills and expertise are recognised as fundamental to maximising the potential of advanced nuclear technologies to support decarbonisation and are a key focus of the ANSIC pilot programme.

Applications are invited from academic institutions and businesses from any research discipline or background and submissions are welcome from organisations with a non-nuclear specialism. Collaborative applications may be submitted, but contracts will be awarded to a single lead organisation. Successful projects must be undertaken between 8 November 2021 and 25 March 2022.

Proposals can explore all potential uses of nuclear technology as part of a low carbon economy. This includes, but is not limited to, research projects investigating:

  • The use of nuclear technologies in hydrogen production, direct heat for industrial or domestic use, energy storage, chemical synthesis and production of medical isotopes
  • Technologies that enable the recovery and reuse of radioactive waste material for energy and non-energy use
  • Technologies that reduce the cost of advanced nuclear systems
  • Mechanisms of enabling licensing and validation of new technologies
  • Opportunities to derive additional value from advanced nuclear systems

Dr Paul Howarth, Chief Executive Officer at the National Nuclear Laboratory, said:

The collaborative Game Changers launch, part of the ANSIC pilot is a great opportunity to shine the spotlight on new scientific initiatives. The programme recognises the vital role that the nuclear landscape and its professionals play in creating and delivering outstanding projects that are having a lasting and positive impact on society.

“It’s a chance to celebrate the champions of our industry who are making a remarkable difference and organisations will have an incredible opportunity to use our facilities at Preston. This open call will help determine the future direction of the ANSIC campus programme, which could help to ensure the UK has the skills needed to remain at the forefront of ground-breaking nuclear research and development – I anticipate there will be lots of outstanding proposals.”

Frank Allison, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of FIS360, added:

“We’re delighted to be supporting these calls for innovation on behalf of BEIS and NNL. Through Game Changers, we work with a diverse range of innovative organisations across many sectors, and we’re looking forward to helping successful applicants take advantage of state-of-the-art facilities at ANSIC whilst connecting them with NNL expertise.”

A briefing webinar will take place at 1pm on Wednesday 15 September 2021. The application process will be explained in detail and attendees will have an opportunity to take part in a Q & A session. Registration is free and via Eventbrite.

All completed proposals must be submitted by 12 noon on Thursday 30 September 2021. Find out more about industrial innovator and academic challenge statements, criteria and how to apply via each route:

Advanced Nuclear Skills and Innovation Campus: industrial innovator research and development projects (gamechangers.technology)

Advanced Nuclear Skills and Innovation Campus: academic research and development projects (gamechangers.technology)