NNL and Bangor University extend collaboration

01 August 2022

The UK’s National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) and Bangor University in north Wales have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to work together to advance education and research in nuclear energy, including on new and innovative fuels, co-generation and nuclear thermal hydraulics.

The agreement builds on existing ties (Image: NNL/Bangor University)

Bangor University's Nuclear Futures Institute and NNL have already been working together, and NNL opened a new office on the nearby Isle of Anglesey last year.

Paul Howarth, NNL's CEO, said: "The development of our existing relationship with Bangor University, formalised through the new MoU, demonstrates our commitment to driving the research, skills and capabilities that will be needed here and across the UK. 

"This work will play an important role in the UK’s ability to deliver on the next wave of low-carbon nuclear technologies, as well as supporting other advances for public benefit such as in transformative health and nuclear medicine. By harnessing both NNL’s and Bangor University’s world-leading facilities and capabilities, we will not only strengthen and maintain existing expertise in the nuclear sector but also ensure we have the people and skills for the UK’s new clear future."

Professor Bill Lee, Director of the Nuclear Futures Institute said: "The NFI already collaborates with NNL in research into thermal hydraulics - reactor plumbing - and accident tolerant nuclear fuels. This MoU will enable us to expand into areas such as nuclear medicine, structural integrity, control and instrumentation and co-generation of hydrogen and jet-fuel from nuclear generated electricity.

"The UK government’s vision for secure energy and net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 will only be achieved by making use of key nuclear licensed sites such as Wylfa and Trawsfynydd. This MoU will support plans for Wales to use these sites for the UK’s clean energy future."

Professor Iwan Davies, Vice-Chancellor of Bangor University, said: "Our developing links with NNL sit well with our vision for Bangor University to be world-leading in the field of low-carbon energy generation. The region already has extensive projects ongoing for marine tidal, offshore wind, solar, and hydrogen generation."

There is a long nuclear heritage in the area, with two Magnox reactors operating from 1971 to 2012 and 2015 at Wylfa, on Anglesey, which is linked by a bridge with Bangor in northwest Wales. There had been plans for Hitachi-GE to build a new nuclear plant there, a UK Advanced Boiling Water Reactor, but Hitachi pulled out in 2019. With the UK's renewed commitment to expand its nuclear energy capacity, the site is currently seen as a frontrunner for both a traditional-sized plant or as a location for small modular reactors.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News