The National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) hosted world-leading researchers, business, supply chain and government officials to celebrate the success of two headline projects, highlighting the role that nuclear plays in reaching net zero by 2050.

Held on the 30 & 31 March at the Preston Marriott Hotel, each day was designated to celebrating one of NNL’s key projects, delivered in partnership with BEIS – the Advanced Nuclear Skills and Innovation Campus (ANSIC) pilot and the Advanced Fuel Cycle Programme (AFCP).

In total, 430 delegates were in attendance, with speakers from NNL, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), DNV, Urenco and BEIS all taking centre stage to deliver keynotes over the two-day period. An official tour of the AFCP facilities was also given to BEIS at NNL’s Preston Laboratory, including NNL’s pioneering work in the development of a UK Coated Particle Fuel R&D capability.

Located at NNL’s Preston Laboratory on the Springfields nuclear licensed site, the ANSIC scheme is funded by BEIS to promote academic and industrial innovation in Advanced Nuclear Technologies (ANTs), which have the potential to help deliver net zero ambitions. It has allowed researchers and innovators to access some of the world’s most progressive nuclear facilities and receive support from technical and operational subject matter experts at NNL.

The ANSIC Showcase was a perfect platform to highlight how the nuclear sector positively impacts local communities and the importance of skills in the North West of England. Additionally, ANSIC enabled the sector to take huge steps forward in the opportunity for nuclear energy to produce hydrogen for the UK’s gas networks, reducing future reliance on natural gas. Successful applicants from NNL and FIS360’s feasibility and open call challenge projects also assembled exhibition stands, to promote their unique projects to the captivated audience.

Government owned but operationally independent, NNL has built a distinct identity as the UK’s technical authority on nuclear fission – promoting regional skills and interests while tackling global challenges to build a new clear future for our planet. Both projects showcased are no exception to that ethos, leveraging the UK’s rich nuclear heritage.

AFCP represents the biggest investment in future nuclear fission fuel cycle research in a generation. NNL is leading on this vital work as part of the BEIS Net Zero Innovation Programme, to build the UK’s sovereign capabilities in the manufacture and recycling of fuels for the next wave of nuclear technologies. Through its uniquely collaborative model, AFCP unites the expertise, facilities and knowledge of over 100 organisations worldwide.

The programme is accelerating the UK’s net zero ambitions, maximising domestic opportunities for jobs and growth and supporting the global clean energy transition. Over the past three years, AFCP has leveraged over £130 million in investment across national and international programmes to drive nuclear fuel cycle innovation, ensuring we have the capabilities to underpin ANTs.

Advocating the most inspirational initiatives and developments in advanced fuels and clean energy, the AFCP Showcase recognised outstanding achievement, teamwork and collaboration. Technical breakouts and a poster competition covered coated particle fuel, accident tolerant fuel, fast reactor fuel, pyroprocessing and aqueous recycle. With so many exceptional pieces of work to select from, a submission from the Manchester Metropolitan University won a mentoring session with NNL’s Dr Fiona Rayment OBE.

Dr Paul Howarth, Chief Executive Officer at the National Nuclear Laboratory, said:

“The showcases unearthed and recognised how nuclear energy can make a positive and transformational contribution to society. As a national lab, NNL is committed to showcasing the best of what we offer, leading the way in thought leadership to build and maintain trust in what we do and how we deliver it. I’d like to thank all participants for their commitment, it was a fantastic event.”


Notes to Editors:

BEIS tour image from left: Lindsay Jamieson, Advanced Nuclear Director (BEIS), Matthew Billson, Deputy Director and Head of Energy Innovation Strategy (BEIS), Caroline Longman, Government Account Director (NNL)