National Nuclear Laboratory: moving the UK’s nuclear industry forward 

Ian Funnell has been appointed as the new chair of the National Nuclear Laboratory helping the organisation’s mission to advance the UK’s nuclear industry. 

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has revealed that Ian Funnell will take on the role of chair of the National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) and will take up the position from 26 January 2022. He is succeeding Sir Andrew Mathews, whose second term as chair is ending on 25 January 2022. 

About the National Nuclear Laboratory

The NNL is responsible for the UK’s nuclear fission R&D, taking a distinctive position in the nuclear innovation environment, bringing science from inactive laboratory-scale demonstration to prototype deployment with real nuclear materials.  

It oversees novel and cutting-edge nuclear skills, facilities and equipment essential to the UK and seeks to strengthen policy and deliver long term sustainable value for the UK in the four key areas of clean energy, environmental restoration, health and nuclear medicine and nuclear security and non-proliferation. 

Delivering on the NNL’s mission 

Commenting on the appointment, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Kwasi Kwarteng MP, said: “The National Nuclear Laboratory plays a key role in the UK’s nuclear industry, as well as offering global leadership. It provides the technical knowledge and capability to ensure the country’s civil nuclear energy programmes are delivered safely and in a cost-effective way. 

“I am delighted that Ian Funnell has been appointed to this vital role. Ian is ideally suited to provide the leadership to build the NNL’s capabilities and deliver on its mission. 

“I would also like to thank Sir Andrew Mathews for his 8 years of service to NNL and all the work he has done during his tenure to transform NNL into the organisation it is today.” 

Fuelling UK innovation 

Ian Funnell added: “I am honoured to accept this role. I have been fortunate to work in some very innovative companies in the UK and internationally, in sectors such as energy, automation, engineering and digital. 

“I will use that experience to support NNL’s work as it deals with some of the world’s most complex challenges. It is an organisation with a clear vision and strong strategy. I relish the chance to take its mission forward.” 

Channelling nuclear science capabilities 

Sir Andrew Mathews, whose second term as chair is nearing an end has commented: “It has been both a great privilege and a joy to be the Chair of the NNL for the last 6 years and to have spent nearly 8 years on the board. I am delighted that I leave the business in such safe hands, and wish Ian well as he helps to take forward NNL’s new and exciting strategy; harnessing Nuclear Science to Benefit Society with a focus on clean energy, medical and health, environmental restoration and security. I will miss working with such a strong team and a hugely talented group of people and wish them every success in the future.” 

Moving the NNL forward 

Paul Howarth, NNL CEO, concluded: “I’m delighted that Ian is joining NNL as Chair. This is a really exciting time for the organisation, and I believe that Ian’s experience will be invaluable in helping NNL as it looks to fulfil its purpose. I’d also like to recognise Sir Andrew’s contribution and thank him for the role he has played during his involvement with NNL over 8 years. I’ve very much enjoyed working with Sir Andrew. He’s helped enormously to shape the organisation and support myself, and the whole of NNL, on this journey.” 

Bringing experience to the table 

Ian Funnell is presently Chief Executive Officer for Hitachi Energy UK Limited, for the UK and Ireland businesses. He spent almost 20 years at ABB in various roles, including five years as Chief Executive Officer of ABB UK Ltd. 

Funnell has vast experience in a non-executive capacity, and is currently Chair, CBI North West Region; Commissioner, COVID Recovery Commission; Board Member, Energy Revolution Advisory Group, Innovate UK; and Board Member, Energy Futures Lab, Imperial College. As well as this, he is a Chartered Engineer, and a Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology. 

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