News Release

ORNL, United Kingdom lab partner on nuclear energy research

Business Announcement

DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory

ORNL, United Kingdom Lab Partner on Nuclear Energy Research

image: Oak Ridge National Laboratory has signed a memorandum of understanding with the United Kingdom's National Nuclear Laboratory to partner on various nuclear research and development efforts. NNL is owned and operated by the U.K. government and does research across the entire nuclear fuel cycle. view more 

Credit: National Nuclear Laboratory, U.K.

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., September 13, 2018--The United Kingdom's National Nuclear Laboratory and the U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory have agreed to cooperate on a wide range of nuclear energy research and development efforts that leverage both organizations' unique expertise and capabilities.

Under a memorandum of understanding, NNL and ORNL will collaborate on nuclear-related projects through idea sharing, staff exchanges, and joint workshops.

"It is an exciting opportunity to expand what we do as a national laboratory, and potentially do it better, through such a unique partnership with a leading nuclear institution like NNL," said Alan Icenhour, associate laboratory director for the Nuclear Science and Engineering Directorate at ORNL. "This agreement brings together two globally recognized leaders to continue answering our respective nations' calls for excellence in nuclear science and technology."

Owned and operated by the U.K. government, NNL supports research across the entire nuclear fuel cycle. NNL works closely with industry, much like ORNL does, to identify and close nuclear technology gaps, something the U.K. lab has done since its founding in 2008.

"I am delighted to reach agreement on this pioneering new MOU with ORNL, which will allow us to build on our already well-established relationship," said Paul Howarth, chief executive officer of NNL. "Together we will draw on the world-leading expertise from our respective organizations and use our complimentary skills and knowledge to further nuclear energy-related research and development. This will include the development of exciting and innovative technologies of the future. I'm looking forward to a collaborative and productive future alongside ORNL."

The MOU cites future collaborative activities that build upon both laboratories' shared strengths to ensure maximum effectiveness during the three-year agreement. This includes developing modeling and simulation tools for advanced nuclear reactors, exploring accident-tolerant fuels concepts, developing management and assessment techniques for spent fuel, and pursuing the production of isotopes for space, medical and industrial applications.

The goal in each area is to provide different perspectives on how the two organizations tackle difficult research questions that meet the needs of the nuclear community.


NNL is widely known for its Nuclear Fuels Centre of Excellence and in-house high-performance computing capabilities. In addition, the lab has established analysis tools including the ORION fuel cycle modeling code and the ENIGMA fuel performance code.

ORNL's nuclear capabilities span similar offerings that include the internationally recognized SCALE code system, the Virtual Environment for Reactor Applications analysis tools from the Consortium for Advanced Simulation of Light Water Reactors and various research and development facilities for nuclear applications.

UT-Battelle manages ORNL for DOE's Office of Science. The Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit

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