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 the Government published its Nuclear Industrial Strategy in March 2013. This described 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. It also identified a series of initial actions to realise those objectives. These included the establishment of NIRAB and NIRO.
NIRAB was initially established as a three year temporary advisory board in January 2014 and was charged with advising Government on the level, approach and coordination of nuclear innovation and R&D required to keep future energy options open and enable both domestic and international commercial opportunities to be realised. NIRAB initial term ended in December 2016.
NIRAB was supported in its preparation of recommendations by the Nuclear Innovation and Research Office (NIRO). NIRO is operated by the National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) on an independent arms length basis and is currently staffed by secondees from NNL and industry.
Government found NIRAB’s advice valuable. It was used, along with other inputs, to inform the decision to invest in an ambitious Nuclear Innovation Programme and revitalise the nuclear research landscape in the UK. Government has decided that it wishes to retain access to independent expert advice as the Nuclear Innovation Programme evolves and has tasked NIRO with convening a reconstituted and restructured NIRAB able to draw on a wide range of expertise.