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NIRAB is an expert advisory board convened by NIRO to provide independent advice to Government. NIRAB seeks to appoint a diverse range of individuals with broad interest and experience across all aspects of the nuclear fuel cycle as well as individuals who are experts in specialisms related to the sector.

NIRAB Terms of Reference

This section sets out the terms of reference and ways of working for the nuclear research and innovation advisory framework comprising the Nuclear Innovation and Research Advisory Board (NIRAB) and the Nuclear Innovation and Research Office (NIRO).  

NIRAB's Role

To work in partnership with NIRO to advise Ministers, Government Departments and Agencies on issues related to nuclear research and innovation in the UK. In particular to:

  • Monitor the UK civil nuclear research and development landscape and provide advice to Government on areas requiring further investment or opportunities to optimise UK programmes.
  • Advise where research and innovation could drive down costs across the whole nuclear cycle.
  • Identify opportunities for greater collaboration with industry and international partners.
  • To support the development of recommendations for new research and innovation programmes and strategy required to underpin priority policies including clean energy, security, decommissioning, and non-energy uses of nuclear technology with a focus on delivering current policy objectives set out in the white paper on SMRs and Advanced nuclear technology.
  • To oversee a regular review of the nuclear research and innovation landscape which may include facilities, capability, portfolio and capacity in the UK
  • To foster greater cooperation and coordination across the whole of the UK’s nuclear research and innovation capability, portfolio and capacity
  • To provide support to UK nuclear programmes through their lifecycle and demonstration of new systems

NIRAB does not have responsibility for managing or delivering R&D programmes or for directing or managing R&D budgets

Membership of NIRAB

The role of Chair of NIRAB is independent of Government. In addition to chairing the main meetings of NIRAB the Chair may be called upon to represent the Board in discussions with other key stakeholder such as Ministers, Parliamentary select committees and attending meetings of the Nuclear Industry Council to discuss R&D issues.

NIRAB draws on a wide range of expertise in order to offer informed advice on the range of issues that may need to be addressed for the future civil nuclear research and innovation programme. NIRAB comprises of 12-14 members with attendance at meetings being determined by the expertise needed to address specific issues on the agenda. NIRAB brings in advice from other experts as needed, with the option to appoint additional members.

Members will be invited to join NIRAB, for a period of three years with membership to be reviewed periodically beyond this point. With the exception of the Chair, appointments will be unfunded, other than the reimbursement of reasonable travel and subsistence costs.

Membership will encompass a wide range of subject expertise, and Members will be individuals with the credibility and position to best represent their fields. Members will be appointed as individuals to provide advice and subject matter expertise independent from the interests of their employer.

Observers and Supporting Staff

Meetings may include Observers such as Government and Departmental Chief Scientific Advisors, officials and representatives of public funding organisations including Research Councils, NDA, regulators, and Innovate UK, as appropriate.

By agreement with the NIRAB Chair, other participants may be invited to attend meetings as observers to provide support and information.


It is anticipated that NIRAB meetings of a core strategic group will take place up to four times per year, with the option to have more if needed. These meetings may be virtual or in person depending upon need.

NIRAB may convene sub-groups to carry out specific workstreams as necessary, with participation not limited to NIRAB members.