The UK government confirmed it will establish a National Nuclear Laboratory, and launched a competition to find a commercial operator to run the organisation.
The aims is that the laboratory will become an international centre of excellence in nuclear research and development, playing a vital role in cleaning up both the UK nuclear waste legacy, and contributing to building new nuclear generating stations.
A business plan for the long term development and viability of the laboratory is now in place.
Earlier this year the UK government gave the go-ahead for industry to come forward with plans for a new generation of nuclear power stations.
The NNL will bring together existing nuclear research capability, comprising the staff of Nexia Solutions and facilities owned by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), including the Sellafield Technology Centre. It will be owned by government, but run by a commercial operator, whose task will be to put the new organisation on a commercial footing.
The new commercial operator, to be in place by spring 2009, will be expected to make the most of an emerging domestic and international market for nuclear technology and research services.