Northern Nuclear Alliance – Combining Nuclear Regulation with Innovation

This month’s Northern Nuclear Alliance (NNA) meeting was hosted by our MD Monica and featured a talk, “The Approach to Regulating Innovation”, and Q&A session with Mike Finnerty, Deputy Chief Nuclear Inspector & New Reactors Director at the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR).

This follows the publication released by ONR in September, “Approach to Regulating Innovation”, which Mike stated was just the starting point in identifying points of innovation across industry, supply chain and Government more effectively, yet remaining compliant with regulations.

Mike explained that following the Nuclear Sector Deal and the Government’s Clean Growth Strategy – both with a keen focus on innovation – the ONR required a more agile approach to its operations as a Regulator; one that supports innovation while still upholding its duties to the public and environment.

Some of the challenges that lie ahead include the target cost reduction of 30% for new nuclear build by 2030, and of course the wider challenge of climate change and the urgent need for action to innovate for “clean growth”. Plus the need for innovation is right across the sector, from technology, and safety procedures, to project financing.

Mike then set out ONR’s approach to innovation, mainly being open to new ideas, and adopting a broad definition of innovation with the aims of addressing a specific need, and bringing benefits to the nuclear sector. This involves close partnerships with the supply chain in particular, offering a safe space to sound-off ideas via their “Innovation Cell”. The ONR will also maintain a dialogue with groups such as NNA and the Nuclear Sector Deal Innovation Group.

To watch Mike’s full presentation and the subsequent Q&A Session, the full meeting can be found in the video below.

Further information on the Northern Nuclear Alliance can be found on their website.