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Sunday, 23 November 2014

New phase for National Nuclear Laboratory

The National Nuclear Laboratory which employs 400 people in Cumbria has entered a new phase after becoming a fully Government owned and operated business.

The National Nuclear Laboratory which employs 400 people in Cumbria has entered a new phase after becoming a fully Government owned and operated business.

The change took effect from October 1 and allows the development of a more commercial focus for NNL which has its central laboratory in Sellafield and a facility in Workington which together account for it being west Cumbria's second largest industrial employer.

Previously it had been run by managing contractor SBM (comprising Serco, Battelle and The University of Manchester) since 2009. It receives no Government funding, but generates an £90m annual turnover and £8m profit by selling its research expertise. Going forward it will have a key research role to play in the Government's nuclear expansion strategy.

Chairman of the NNL Board, Richard Maudslay, said: "NNL has made tremendous progress during the four and a half years since the company was created in its present form. We now operate on a fully commercial basis, carrying out work that is essential to our diverse range of customers. Credit is due to the SBM consortium for the role they have played in achieving that progress, and I am delighted that NNL's Managing Director Paul Howarth and Finance Director David Healey, who were both part of the original SBM management team, have chosen to remain with the business as we go forward.

"Although NNL today changes its governance reporting structure to Government, this will have no effect on our relationships with our customers, suppliers and other stakeholders. We will continue to use our technical skills and experience, coupled with our advanced facilities, to best meet their needs. And of course we will continue to maintain our strong focus on safety and security - both of which are of paramount importance in this sector."

NNL Managing Director Paul Howarth added: "NNL is now entering a very exciting stage of the company's evolution. As we move forward we can build on the progress made over the past four and a half years to capitalise on a wide range of opportunities ahead. Not least, we have the chance to be at the heart of Government's plans for a national programme of nuclear energy R&D. We are also central to the research and development which underpins work to clean up the UK's nuclear waste legacy at sites such as Sellafield.

"In addition we have major opportunities within our grasp both to refurbish our existing facilities and to commission new ones. Once that work is complete we will host some of the finest nuclear R&D laboratories anywhere in the world. Add this to all of our commercial work and our closer relationship with Government and the future for NNL has never looked brighter."

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