Expert witnesses to the UK House of Lords Science and Technology Committee's inquiry into priorities for nuclear research and technologies said on 21 February that the UK's National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) cannot fulfil its role while it relies on commercial work for part of its funding.
NNL has been providing independent advice to the UK government and working with other national laboratories around the world since 2008. It has also been delivering research and technology to support the nuclear fuel cycle. Its major customers including the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), Sellafield, Springfields, the Ministry of Defence, EDF Energy and the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA).
The witnesses - Michael Bluck, director of the Centre for Nuclear Engineering at Imperial College London; Mike Tynan, CEO of the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) at the University of Sheffield; and Grace Burke, director of the Materials Performance Centre at Manchester University - told the parliamentary committee that NNL's role needs urgent attention.