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National Nuclear Laboratory Limited (NNL)

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Description of the legal entity

NNL is a UK Government owned company employing around 900 highly qualified experts in a variety of scientific and technical disciplines. Our expertise covers all aspects of nuclear fission, including the full nuclear fuel cycle, reactor operations, waste management and clean up, security and non-proliferation and advanced technologies, and uniquely in the UK includes access to a range of active and non-active facilities.

As an independent Government company NNLs role in the UK nuclear industry is to be the trusted national laboratory, by being:

  • The impartial technical advisor to the UK Government on all aspects of nuclear fission, working hand in hand with government and trusted by industry.
  • The trusted gateway to the UK for international science, technology and innovation, ensuring that the UK is recognised as a leading nuclear nation.
  • Supportive of the aims of the Industrial Strategy and under pinning delivery of the UKs major nuclear programme through strategic partnerships.
  • Acknowledged technical expertise reflected in significantly increased levels of funded research.

By engaging strategically with industry through partnerships NNL are uniquely placed to help identify and bring innovative technologies and practices into the nuclear sector.

 NNL’s position as a national laboratory sits at the heart of an extensive network and advising the UK government on a range of issues, such as contributing directly to the UK Government’s Industrial Strategy, illustrates the role we already play. We also play an important role internationally evidenced by our work in support of the US-UK treaty on civil nuclear and the Japanese clean up at Fukushima.

Through our ‘Living Networks’ NNL has links to academia, other national laboratories such as the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy, and National Physical Laboratory, national laboratories overseas such as those at CEA in France and those in the US.

Profile of staff members involved

  • Dr Susan Ortner (female): PhD in Materials Science. 30 years of experience in nuclear industry investigating radiation damage in structural materials, investigating and modelling brittle fracture in steels. Experience in multiple microstructural investigation techniques including failure analyses, initiation site fractography, quantitative fractography.
  • Dr Helen Swan (female): PhD in Physics. Materials Scientist with 15 years’ post-doctoral research experience in both industry and academia, currently at the National Nuclear Laboratory at the Culham site. Experience of multiple materials characterisation methods and handling of radioactive samples, radiation damage in materials, materials property testing and analysis, plus technical co-ordinator for the development and maintenance of the UK's knowledge base on irradiation damage in RPV and austenitic steels. Present position: Senior Research Technologist at the National Nuclear Laboratory, Culham, UK.
  • Mrs Lucy Bankhead (female): a chemist with a degree in Natural Sciences from the University of Cambridge. She joined the National Nuclear Laboratory in 2009 as a research technologist within the Chemical and Process Modelling team. She has been working as a Project Manager for 6 years and is ‘Association for Project Management Professional’ (APMP) qualified.

    She is accountable for managing the delivery of a varied portfolio of nuclear R&D projects and has delivered projects for a wide range of customer including Sellafield Ltd, Rolls Royce, European Commission and NDA. Mrs Bankhead currently manages a number of work packages of total value ~£2M and is responsible for delivery, reporting progress and managing stakeholders throughout the project lifecycle. An example of a current European Commission project that she manages is ‘THERAMIN’: thermal treatment demonstration using Geomelt and HIP, which involves working with a range of international stakeholders within the project consortium, as well as delivering active Geomelt runs at NNL’s Central Laboratory.

    Her duties include the development and maintenance of costed programmes, managing and delivering bids, from go/no go decision to submission, monitoring and controlling project costs, ensuring efficient use of internal and external resources, management of subcontractors including universities and SMEs, being the customer interface; responsible for reporting progress and managing stakeholders.
  • Dr Caroline Meek (female): EngD in Nuclear Engineering (fracture mechanics) since Dec. 2017. Experienced structural and structural integrity engineer and skilled in fracture assessments, structural design and assessments to British, European, US and other international standards using structural and finite element modelling software as well as creating bespoke spreadsheets and hand calculations. Published journal author and presenter at several international conferences. Present position: Structural Integrity Engineer with the thermal and structural modelling team at the National Nuclear Laboratory, Warrington, UK.

Relevant publications, and/or products, services

  • Wilford K., Ortner S., and Chivers K., "UK Surveillance Schemes" (2018), International Review of Nuclear Reactor Pressure Vessel Surveillance Programs, ed. Server W. and Brumovský M. (West Conshohocken, PA: ASTM International, 2018): 296-306
  • Ortner S.R., “The ductile-to-brittle transition in steels controlled by particle cracking” (2006), Fatigue Fract Engng Mater Struct 29: 752–769
  • Meek C. and Shippen M., “Comparison of Fracture Assessments of Corrosion Pits Using Sharp and Blunt Notches Procedures” (2019), ASME Pressure Vessels and Piping, PVP 2019-93297.

Relevant previous projects or activities

  • PISA

Significant infrastructure and/or any major items of technical equipment

No significant infrastructure or major items of technical equipment are involved with the proposed work.

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