15 April 2012

Professor Paul Howarth and the Future of Fast Breeder Reactors in the UK

Is it reasonable to surmise that this individual in charge of this organisation could well dictate the UK's nuclear direction for the foreseeable future?

Will he dictate the timing or even the prospects of UK deployment of breeder reactors?

As of mid-April 2012, no apparent utterances on his opinions of the potential or capabilities of the GE Hitachi PRISM.

This is the situation so far:

Legal Status and Ownership

The National Nuclear Laboratory is a UK registered private limited company in which the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change holds all of the shares through a holding company NNL Holdings Ltd.


The Government’s objectives for the NNL are for it to:
  • operate as a sound commercial business;
  • demonstrate value for customers;
  • create a platform for UK and internationally funded R&D;
  • ensure the latent value of the UK’s R&D can be demonstrated and realised;
  • become an international centre of excellence in nuclear research and development, playing a vital role in cleaning up the UK’s nuclear waste legacy and contributing to the programme of nuclear new build;
  • safeguard the UK’s high tech nuclear expertise, facilities and skills;
  • ensure the stability of the immature UK civil nuclear R&D market;
  • provide a basis for opening up the UK market to nuclear facility operational and clean up R&D; and
  • safeguard the contribution that the NNL makes to the West Cumbrian economy and local ambitions to become an Energy Coast.
Paul Howarth, Managing Director
Professor Paul Howarth
Director of Science,
Technology and Project Delivery,
National Nuclear Laboratory, UK
Vision, Mission, Values:

Our strategic vision is the overarching guide to what NNL aims to achieve:
To be a valued and successful nuclear science and technology laboratory, world renowned for its exceptional staff, cutting edge facilities and excellent value for money.

GE Hitachi - NNL Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)

“With our recognised technical capability and long experience in fuel cycle analysis, we are pleased that GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy has looked to NNL to provide independent and authoritative input to the potential U.K. application of a PRISM reactor,” said Paul Howarth, managing director of NNL.

Add caption
April 2012 Issue of Ethos JournalPaul Howarth - "Nuclear Future"

".....There are three approaches to managing the UK’s plutonium stockpile: store it, treat it as waste, or use it as fuel. My feeling is that it should be turned into fuel – we should derive the benefit of electricity from it....."

News:  13 April 2012
NNL Managing Director participates in Prime Minister’s top level business delegation to Japan
Managing Director of the UK’s National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL), Paul Howarth, was part of the top level business delegation which visited Japan this week.
The group was led by Prime Minister David Cameron..... During the visit UK and Japanese officials agreed and signed a Framework on Civil Nuclear Cooperation, providing the basis for UK companies to engage in multi-billion pound decommissioning opportunities in Japan. In a separate development, the UK Nuclear Industry Association and the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum signed a Memorandum of Understanding to further industrial collaboration between companies from the UK and Japan.

Paul Howarth said: “I was delighted to be invited as a delegate on this tremendously important trip to Japan. There is clearly a huge opportunity ahead for the UK and Japan to work together to address nuclear challenges across the sector – including the areas of new nuclear build, waste management and decommissioning....”

In keeping a close eye on Professor Howarth's utterances in respect of the Plutonium Question and Breeder Reactor Deployment, I intend to publicise any developments with alacrity.

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