National Nuclear Laboratory

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Type State-owned limited company
Industry Nuclear services and technology
Predecessor(s) Nexia Solutions
Founded 23 July 2008
Headquarters Central Laboratory, Sellafield, Cumbria, United Kingdom
Number of locations 7 (Central Laboratory, Windscale Laboratory, Workington Laboratory, Preston Laboratory, Chadwick House, Harwell and Stonehouse)
Key people Prof. Paul Howarth (Managing Director)
Owner(s) Department of Energy and Climate Change
Employees approx 800
Divisions Waste Management and Decommissioning, Fuel Cycle Solutions and Reactor Operations Support
Website www.nnl.co.uk

The National Nuclear Laboratory (informally NNL, formerly Nexia Solutions) is a UK government owned and operated nuclear services technology provider covering the whole of the nuclear fuel cycle. It is fully customer-funded and operates at six locations in the United Kingdom. Its customers have included the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, Sellafield Ltd, Westinghouse, the Health and Safety Executive, the Ministry of Defence, the UK Atomic Energy Authority, VT Nuclear and British Energy. It also has extensive links with academia, including collaborative agreements on waste immobilisation and disposal with the University of Sheffield and on nuclear materials research with the University of Manchester.[1]

History[edit]

The organization began to come together in 1996 when a number of separate research and development facilities began to coalesce into a single unit within British Nuclear Fuels. In 2003, this Research and Technology business was re-launched as Nuclear Sciences and Technology Services (NSTS) in order to ready the business for transformation into a fully commercial entity. In 2005, following the restructuring of the wider nuclear industry, Nexia Solutions was formed out of NSTS, as a wholly owned subsidiary of BNFL.

In July 2006, the UK Government stated its intention to preserve and develop key R&D capabilities potentially as part of a National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL). In October 2006, Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, Alistair Darling announced the establishment of the NNL, to be based on Nexia Solutions and the British Technology Centre at Sellafield.[2] The NNL was formally announced by John Hutton, Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform in an announcement at the Sellafield Visitors Centre on 23 July 2008.[3]

On 23 March 2009 it was announced by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) that a consortium made up of Serco, Battelle and the University of Manchester had been selected as the new management contractors for the NNL.[4] The contract was for an initial three-year period with options to be extended by up to two years.[5] DECC had been engaged in competitive dialogue with the winning consortium as well as QQEST, a joint venture between QinetiQ and EnergySolutions, since October 2008.[6]

The management contract commenced on 1 April 2009, when ownership of the NNL transferred from BNFL directly to DECC with shareholder responsibilities delegated to the Shareholder Executive. From day one of the new contract, the focus was on positioning the NNL as the employer of choice for nuclear scientists and engineers, and working in partnership with customers to deliver valuable solutions to the challenges faced by the national and international nuclear market.[7] Mike Lawrence of Battelle was appointed to lead the new NNL management team as Managing Director. He had more than 40 years of experience in the nuclear profession, including management of the United States Hanford Reservation and its massive site cleanup program, and his former role as the U.S. representative on nuclear matters to the International Atomic Energy Agency.[8] Mike Lawrence retired in December 2010 and was replaced by Professor Paul Howarth, formerly NNL's Director of Science, Technology and Project Delivery.[9] On 1 October 2013 the management contract expired, and the NNL became operated directly by the UK Government.[10]

Locations[edit]

The Central Laboratory[11] at Sellafield is the National Nuclear Laboratory's main facility and is the flagship nuclear Research and Development facility in the UK. It supports new reactor build, operation of reactors, operations of fuel processing plants and decommissioning and clean-up. Managed by the NNL, on behalf of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), the Central Laboratory is available to run a wide range of radioactive and non-radioactive experimental programmes. In addition, it offers a wide range of analytical services, building on its excellent location on the Sellafield site and considerable expertise of its resident technologists. Customers range from Government and the NDA to site licence companies, utilities, nuclear specialists and universities. The facility has been designed with flexibility and collaboration firmly at its heart. Smaller experiments can be easily set, taking advantage of the modular nature of the laboratories. Larger experiments and rigs can be assembled off site, installed and pre-tested in non-radioactive areas prior to active testing.

The Preston Laboratory[12] on the Springfields site is designed to service the needs of businesses in low-activity uranium research and development as well as providing technical and business serviecs from an office base. It was opened in July 1997. The building has three main areas including Uranium-active facilities, non-active research and development facilities as well as office accommodation.

The Windscale Laboratory[13] is an active handling and inspection facility based on Windscale Nuclear Licensed Site at Sellafield. The facility comprises a number of heavily shielded cells with remote operations enabling the handling, transfer, preparation and inspection of highly active materials.

The Workington Laboratory[14] represents the NNL's non-active facility for undertaking various rig-work and pilot scale studies.

The National Nuclear Laboratory also has office based facilities at Warrington (Cheshire), Stonehouse (Gloucestershire) and Harwell (Oxfordshire).

Other information[edit]

External references[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Consortium selected for UK National Nuclear Laboratory", World Nuclear News (24/03/09).
  2. ^ Alistair Darling announces the formation of the National Nuclear Laboratory, www.nda.gov.uk (30/06/06).
  3. ^ "UK national laboratory confirmed", World Nuclear News (23/07/2008).
  4. ^ "Consortium appointed to run UK's National Nuclear Lab to be run", www.publictechnology.net (23/03/09).
  5. ^ "Serco, Battelle To Run UK National Nuclear Laboratory", www.advfn.com (23/03/2009).
  6. ^ "Press Release - Serco, Battelle and the University of Manchester to run National Nuclear Lab", www.decc.gov.uk (23/03/09).
  7. ^ "Serco - Battelle - University of Manchester consortium named as Recommended Bidder to run National Nuclear Laboratory", www.serco.com (23/03/09).
  8. ^ "Battelle in consortium selected to lead England's National Nuclear Laboratory", www.battelle.org (23/03/09).
  9. ^ Appointment of a New Managing Director for NNL
  10. ^ "National Nuclear Laboratory Takes Next Step in its Evolution". NNL. 2013. Retrieved 3 October 2013. 
  11. ^ The Central Laboratory, www.nnl.co.uk
  12. ^ The Preston Laboratory, www.nnl.co.uk
  13. ^ The Windscale Laboratory, www.nnl.co.uk
  14. ^ The Workington Laboratory, www.nnl.co.uk