National Physical Laboratory

The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) is the UK’s National Measurement Institute. Founded in 1900 it has over 550 specialists in Measurement Science and Research & Development and represents the UK government’s largest single R&D investment.

As the UK’s national standards laboratory, NPL underpins the national measurement system, ensuring consistency and traceability of measurements throughout the UK. NPL offers a unique range of measurement services, contract research, consultancy and training services.

Measurement capabilities

NPL’s role in the energy sector is to provide measurement capabilities, standards and infrastructure that support innovation in low carbon energy, enable diversity of supply options, extend life and improve efficiency of existing plant, stimulate the UK energy economy, and develop an intelligent grid system so energy security, climate change and affordability can be tackled together.

In the nuclear energy industry, NPL is supporting clients to:

  • Keep reactors safely in service by providing reference materials to demonstrate correct operation of monitoring programmes, measuring the performance of materials in service or ensuring the reliability of key data
  • Decommission old sites and facilities through the accurate classification of waste, traceable to national standards, to ensure the most appropriate and cost effective disposal
  • Model and test new plant materials in harsh environments to aid design decisions and predict lifetime management

For more information on our services in the energy sector, please visit:

Radioactivity measurement and ALARP

Accurate radioactivity measurement continues to be a vital aspect of the work of UK industry, especially in support of nuclear decommissioning.

NPL has a fundamental role in the provision of the accurate, traceable measurements required to ensure that doses received by people are as low as reasonably practicable (ALARP), and that measurement instruments are fit for purpose.

We provide the reference materials and support needed to ensure that measurements of the radioactivity content of waste materials are accurate, consistent and demonstrably independent of the nuclear industry.