History and Background
In 2011 the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee carried out an Inquiry into the UK’s nuclear R&D capability and made a number of recommendations on where it viewed improvements were needed. In response to this report the Government established an Ad Hoc Nuclear R&D Advisory Board comprising experts from Industry, Academia and Government. The overall recommendations from the Board addressed many of the recommendations made in the House of Lords report. In addition the Board oversaw the production of a review of the Civil Nuclear R&D Landscape and a Nuclear R&D Roadmap, a Long Term Nuclear Energy strategy and a Nuclear Industrial Vision Statement.
Government drew on all of this material in publishing its Nuclear Industrial Strategy, setting out how Government and industry can work in partnership to enable nuclear energy to play a significant role in the UK energy mix in the future. The strategy describes a clear and ambitious vision of a vibrant UK nuclear industry making a valuable economic contribution and providing the UK with a safe, reliable and affordable source of low carbon electricity. The Strategy sets a number of objectives and identifies a series of initial actions to realise those objectives. One of those actions was the establishment of NIRAB and NIRO.
NIRAB was established in January 2014 to advise Government on the level, approach and coordination of nuclear innovation and R&D that will keep future energy options open and enable both domestic and international commercial opportunities to be realised by the UK. NIRAB's term ended in December 2016.
NIRAB was supported in its preparation of recommendations by the Nuclear Innovation and Research Office (NIRO). NIRO is hosted within the National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) and is currently staffed by secondees from NNL and industry.