UK Launches Nuclear Innovation Program

The UK's Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has announced its commitment of £20 million for an initial phase of a new nuclear research and innovation program. This covers five major themes: advanced fuels; materials and manufacture; reactor design; advanced recycling; and strategic toolkit.

BEIS said on 3 November: "At Spending Review 2015, government committed to invest in an ambitious nuclear research and development program. This funding forms a part of government's wider commitment to double the UK's energy innovation spend, such that by 2021 it will have doubled to over £400 million per year.

"As part of this commitment, over £20 million will be provided to support innovation in the civil nuclear sector across five major areas from 2016-18, building on the recommendations set out by the Nuclear Innovation Research Advisory Board (Nirab)."

This funding includes: £6 million towards maintaining the UK's leading edge work on advanced nuclear fuels which could provide greater levels of efficiency; £5 million for research that underpins the development, safety and efficiency of the next generation of nuclear reactor designs; £5 million to develop the UK's capability in materials, advanced manufacturing and modular build for the reactors of the future; £2 million to research fuel recycling processes that may reduce future environmental and financial burdens; and £2 million to continue with the development of a suite of toolkits and underpinning data that will enhance government's knowledge basis for future decision making in the nuclear sector, up to 2050.

The deadlines for the procurements are, respectively, 16 December 2016 for those on the website of the Official Journal of the European Union, and 18 January 2017 for the Small Business Research Initiative procurement.

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