New management team takes over at National Nuclear Lab

On Monday April 6, the UK’s National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) gained a new management team, with plans to place the lab at the centre of the research and development agenda that underpins the renaissance in the nuclear sector.

Formal agreement was reached for the NNL to be led by a high calibre team put together following a competitive process to appoint a new managing contractor. The team, selected from the successful Serco, Battelle and The University of Manchester (SBM) consortium, will be led by Mike Lawrence.

Key objectives for the new team include the maintaining and improving NNL’s best in class safety record, significantly growing revenues over the initial three year contract period and creating 180 new technical jobs in the North West. 

To tap into the talent, knowledge and experience of NNL employees, the team will invest £1M each year in internal research and development to fund new blue sky innovation projects.

Another key driver is the commissioning of the Plutonium Laboratories (Phase 2) and High Active Cells (Phase 3) of the new Central Laboratory at Sellafield. A fully operational Central Laboratory is a flagship for nuclear research and development in the UK and the world.

Mike Lawrence joins the NNL from Battelle and brings with him tremendous experience in the Government and commercial nuclear sectors in major US and international nuclear programmes and laboratories. This includes management of the Hanford site in the US and its comprehensive clean-up programme. He led the transition of the site to a clean-up mission and his experience is of great relevance as the NNL continues its close support to the Sellafield site.

Laboratory management features strongly in all three of the winning organisations. Collectively, SBM manage nine Government owned Contractor operated (GoCo) national laboratories in the UK and US.

SBM possess the know-how and insights needed to ensure that the NNL is self-sustaining and maintains the critical skill base necessary to maximise the value to the UK of historic and future investment in nuclear technology.

Mike Lawrence said: “It’s an honour and privilege to be the new Managing Director of the National Nuclear Laboratory.  I feel a mixture of great pride and excitement as we look forward to securing an exciting future for the NNL by taking it on to the next level.

“We will look to develop the NNL to become a valued and successful nuclear science and technology laboratory, world renowned for its exceptional staff, cutting edge facilities and excellent value for money.

“The new team will give our people the tools and ability to develop science and deliver the right technology to customers. We will maintain and grow the UK nuclear skill base and put the NNL on a firm financial footing by building on already exceptional performance.”


National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL)

The NNL was formed out of Nexia Solutions Limited in 2008.  It is an international centre of research and development and provides customers with tailored solutions by applying the appropriate level of technical innovation and intellectual support.  Customers include the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), Sellafield Ltd, Westinghouse, Ministry of Defence, United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA), VT Nuclear and British Energy plc.

On 6 April 2009, a consortium of Serco, Battelle and The University of Manchester (SBM) formally took over the management of the NNL on behalf of the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC). The NNL was originally launched in July 2008 by John Hutton, then Secretary of State for Business. The Lab brings together expert nuclear research capabilities of Nexia Solutions with world-class nuclear facilities, such as the new Central Laboratory at Sellafield.  

NNL Vision

To become a valued and successful nuclear science and technology laboratory, world renowned for its exceptional staff, cutting-edge facilities and excellent value for money

Serco, Battelle and The University of Manchester (SBM)

Each SBM partner shares a passion for the NNL’s vision and has provided leaders of the very highest quality to make up the new NNL management team. They have access to each of the partner’s corporate systems and are confident their leadership will see the NNL grow and mature. 

●        Serco

A business services company, Serco Group plc is based in Hampshire and is listed on the London Stock Exchange. Serco is a world leader in managing both science-based organisations and the process of developing, transferring and applying knowledge. It is Europe’s principal operator of Government owned Contractor operated (GoCo) science and innovation centres. 

●        Battelle

The Battelle Memorial Institute is a private non-profit applied science and technology development company headquartered in Ohio, USA. It explores emerging areas of science, develops and commercialises technology. The Institute leads the management of the globally recognised Idaho, Oak Ridge and Pacific Northwest National Laboratories.

●        The University of Manchester

The University of Manchester is the UK’s largest single-site university. Manchester leads on nuclear research in the UK and has established radiochemistry and materials performance research initiatives since 1999. The University is also the home of the Dalton Nuclear Institute. The Institute drives the co-ordination and growth of Manchester's nuclear expertise. 

Notes for editors

Please contact:

Jon Keighren
Media Relations Manager, The University of Manchester
T: 0161 275 8384
E: jon.keighren@manchester.ac.uk

Peter O’Brien
Communications Manager, National Nuclear Laboratory
T: 01925 832074/07801 856257 (mobile)
E: peter.o’brien@nnl.co.uk

Gareth Thomas
Communications Manager, National Nuclear Laboratory
01925 832319/07740 819728 (mobile)
E: gareth.x.thomas@nnl.co.uk

Paul Tustin
Acumen PR
01704 885555/07808 479636 (mobile)
E: paul@acumenpr.com