National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) was delighted to host world-leading experts at the 58th meeting of the Hot Laboratories and Remote Handling working group (Hotlab).

Held on the 25-29 September at the Hilton Deansgate in central Manchester, this year’s event was in collaboration with Sellafield Ltd, UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA), ISIS Neutron and Muon Source at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (UKRI), organised in cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Boasting the largest attendance seen at Hotlab since its origin, the event welcomed over 200 delegates ranging from technicians, operators, engineers, researchers, suppliers and managers working at and for nuclear hot cell research and development (R&D) facilities across the globe.

Hotlab was established in 1963 in Cadarache, France and as the main forum for world-wide nuclear hot cell R&D facilities it enables leading experts to come together, to create information resource on facilities, manufacturers, and transportation. The continued success of the meeting has meant it has expanded into the forum we know today, taking place annually across international locations.

Advocating inspirational initiatives, NNL lined up an exciting programme of technical talks and posters over the three days on topics ranging from new facility design to post irradiation examination and knowledge management. It was a perfect platform to highlight how the nuclear sector can play its role to create a mutual ambition for the industry.

This year’s community utilised the opportunity to share experience and skills to facilitate collaboration in all aspects of the subject matter, particularly with respect to hot cell users and the international community. Panel sessions encouraged thought provoking discussions following talks on remote handling developments, legacy fuels and waste.

Attendees were also given the opportunity to meet some of the industry’s most recognised suppliers face to face in exhibition rooms, to explore the best of what the specialist hot cell world offers. The UK has been an active member for many years in this field and there was pride in showcasing its capability at Hotlab 2022 through our people and facilities.

Two technical tours were also given to delegates on southern and northern nuclear operated sites at UKAEA and ISIS Neutron and Muon Source in Oxfordshire and Sellafield, Cumbria, to see some of the facilities in action.

Government owned but operationally independent, NNL has built a distinct identity as the UK’s technical authority on nuclear fission, tackling global challenges to build a new clear future for our planet. This event was no exception to that ethos,

leveraging the UK’s rich nuclear heritage to share experiences and ambitions with the international community.

Des Wright, VP Nuclear Authority at NNL, said:

“It’s a fantastic opportunity for NNL and our collaborators to host this year’s event in Manchester. Like many industry partners, NNL experiences common challenges in continued operation of nuclear facilities particularly maintaining, improving, and operating older technologies. Therefore, this forum ensures we share our experiences to foster collaboration and limit future challenges associated with knowledge management and critical knowledge retention.”

Ann Leenaers, Hotlab Chair, said:

“Being the chair of the Hotlab working group for 15 years, I am proud to see how this group has grown over the years. The record number of participants and exhibitors we had this year in Manchester again shows the importance of the forum. Sharing of experiences as well as transferring knowledge to the next generation mark the informal character of the event. For me attending Hotlab feels like meeting family”.

To find out more about Hotlab 2022 visit