UK NNL and US Oakridge lab to cooperate on research

25 September 2018

The UK National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) and the US Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have agreed to collaborate on a wide range of nuclear energy research and development efforts that leverage both organisations' unique expertise and capabilities, according to a 13 September statement.

Under a memorandum of understanding (MOU), NNL and ORNL will cooperate on nuclear-related projects through idea sharing, staff exchanges, and joint workshops.

The MOU cites future collaborative activities that build on the shared strengths of the laboratories to ensure maximum effectiveness during the three-year agreement. These include developing modelling and simulation tools for advanced reactors, exploring accident-tolerant fuels, developing management and assessment techniques for spent fuel, and production of isotopes for space, medical and industrial applications. The goal in each area is to provide different perspectives on how the two organisations tackle difficult research questions.

"It is an exciting opportunity to expand what we do as a national laboratory, and potentially do it better, through such a unique partnership with a leading nuclear institution like NNL," said Alan Icenhour, associate laboratory director for the Nuclear Science and Engineering Directorate at ORNL. NNL CEO Paul Howarth said: "Together we will draw on the world-leading expertise from our respective organisations and use our complimentary skills and knowledge to further nuclear energy-related research and development.”

NNL, established in 2008, is owned and operated by the UK government. It supports research across the entire nuclear fuel cycle working closely with industry to identify and close technology gaps. NNL is recognised for its Nuclear Fuels Centre of Excellence and in-house high-performance computing capabilities.

UT-Battelle manages ORNL for DOE's Office of Science. Its nuclear capabilities include the SCALE code system, the Virtual Environment for Reactor Applications analysis tools from the Consortium for Advanced Simulation of Light Water Reactors and various research and development facilities for nuclear applications.

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