- Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy
- Part of:
- Low carbon technologies and Research and development
- 3 November 2016
- Last updated:
- 8 November 2017, see all updates
Applying for government funding for UK civil nuclear fission innovation.
Nuclear innovation, 2016 to 2021
At Spending Review 2015, government committed to invest in an ambitious nuclear research and development programme.
Across Government, Innovate UK, Research Councils, and BEIS expect to invest around £460 million in nuclear research and innovation.
As part of this commitment, within the BEIS Energy Innovation Programme, BEIS expects to invest around £180 million in nuclear innovation.
Support for advanced nuclear technologies
Government will invest £7 million to ensure UK regulators are able to build the capability and capacity required to support the development of advanced technologies. The funding will allow regulators to significantly increase levels of engagement with industry as well as collaboration with international regulatory counterparts. Funding will also see regulators undertake a review of existing arrangements to facilitate the design assessment and licencing of modular reactors.
Given the breadth of different advanced nuclear technologies in development and the different regulatory challenges, BEIS will be hosting a number of events will targeted to different types of technology.
The first workshop will take place on Thursday 23 November 2017 in London and will be run by BEIS on behalf of the Office of Nuclear Regulation and the Environment Agency and provides an opportunity to engage directly with the regulators to understand the UK regulatory framework. The workshop will consist of interactive sessions led by regulators and opportunities for vendors to participate in one-on-one sessions and will provide more detail on proposals for subsequent engagement. This event is open to all vendors of small and medium water cooled reactors (<1GWe), including those who did not participate in Phase 1 of the Small Modular Reactor competition. Register for this event by completing the registration form below and emailing it to firstname.lastname@example.org
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Reforming the Nuclear Innovation and Research Advisory Board (NIRAB)
BEIS has commissioned the Nuclear Innovation and Research Office (NIRO) to convene a new structure for the Nuclear Innovation and Research Advisory Board (NIRAB). The new structure will widen the remit of the Advisory Board, building on the success of the original structure. NIRO are seeking expressions of interest from experts to fill a number of roles in the new structure. Further details and an application form can be downloaded.
The new Advisory Board will be responsible for providing independent advice to government on:
- the impact and delivery of government’s nuclear innovation programme
- opportunities for greater collaboration with industry and international partners
- the potential for innovation to reduce the cost of the nuclear life cycle.
NIRAB was convened by government as part of the 2013 nuclear industrial strategy. The Board was convened from 2014-2016 and consisted of independent experts from industry, academia and key nuclear research facilities. The Board was chaired by Dame Sue Ion and produced a number of annual reports together with well received recommendations on research needs within the UK nuclear landscape.
Nuclear innovation, 2016 to 2018
As part of this commitment, an initial programme over £20 million was launched in November 2016, supporting innovation in the civil nuclear sector across 5 major areas from 2016-18 and 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. This includes scoping work in collaboration with the Welsh government.
- £5 million to develop the UK’s capability in nuclear materials, advanced manufacturing and modular build for the reactors of the future. This process is being led by Innovate UK through the Small Business Research Initiative.
- £2 million to research fuel recycling processes that may reduce future environmental and financial burdens.
- £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.
A number of contracts, valued at up to £12.5 million, have now been awarded covering the areas above. Work has commenced on these contracts and is being led by a number of organisations, including:
- National Nuclear Laboratories (on advanced nuclear fuels and recycling)
- Frazer Nash (on reactor design, including thermal hydraulics and safety engineering, and on materials and manufacturing)
- Amec Foster Wheeler (on reactor design, materials, and manufacturing)
- Brunel University London (on materials and manufacturing)
- Cammell Laird Energy (on materials and manufacturing)
- Nuclear AMRC (on materials and manufacturing)
- University of Sheffield (on materials and manufacturing)
There are no open procurements in this area at the moment. Further announcements on contract awards and future opportunities will follow. If you have questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Innovation in nuclear fusion technologies
Nuclear fusion is the process that powers the sun and harnessing this process to deliver clean, inexhaustible energy is the goal of global fusion research. This technology is less developed than fission energy generation technology but is a promising field of research that could have global implications in the future. In addition, there is a clear link between the technologies that support fission and fusion energy research such as robotics, advanced materials and computing that can be exploited for the benefit of the UK nuclear sector as whole.
The UK’s fusion research programme and contributions to international fusion programmes such as JET and ITER are managed by the UK Atomic Energy Authority. Research funding for the UK fusion programme is managed by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.
Published: 3 November 2016
Updated: 8 November 2017
- Expression of interest for roles in NIRO.
- Updates from Clean Growth Strategy.
- Reform of NIRAB
- Closed procurement rounds removed.
- First published.