Skip to Main Content
Awards 2024

NNL Chief Executive Paul Howarth Receives CBE In King’s Birthday Honours List

Professor Paul Howarth, Chief Executive of National Nuclear Laboratory, has been awarded a CBE in the King’s Birthday Honours List, in recognition of his significant contribution and service to the nuclear industry and to UK research and development (R&D).

Paul has had a distinguished career working in and for the nuclear sector, building a reputation as one of the leading figures in the UK nuclear sector and around the global industry. After completing his degree in Physics and Astrophysics and PhD in Nuclear Physics, he started his career working on the European Fusion Programme. Early in his career he was awarded a prestigious Royal Society Fellowship to work in Japan on their nuclear programme. On returning to the UK he continued to work on nuclear fission leading the UK’s advanced reactor programme while working at British Nuclear Fuels, co-founding the Dalton Nuclear Institute at the University of Manchester and working closely with UK Government on building the case for new nuclear build.

Paul was appointed CEO for the National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) in 2011 following its creation as a public corporation, having been instrumental in its establishment from British Nuclear Fuels Limited (BNFL). During his tenure as CEO, NNL has been transformed into a successful business and a true national laboratory, delivering profits to reinvest into nuclear science and technology and critical support to nuclear organisations in the public and private sectors. The organisation has grown in activity from £70m to over £200m per annum, and from 700 to 1700 colleagues, operating globally unique critical nuclear infrastructure valued at over £5bn; generating billions in economic value. NNL is recognised as a key strategic partner of both UK Government and industry.

Paul announced that he will retire from his role as CEO of the UK’s National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) in Spring 2025, and the search is currently underway to identify an appropriate successor.


Paying tribute to Paul and congratulating him on this honour, Ian Funnell, Chair of NNL, said:

“Paul’s unwavering dedication and exceptional leadership have been instrumental in ensuring the UK maintains its strategic nuclear capability and championing nuclear as vital to energy security and net zero policy. Paul has long been one of the leading figures in the nuclear sector, advising successive Governments in both formal and informal capacities and representing the UK and our nuclear sector internationally as we enhanced our reputation as a global leader in nuclear science.

“This honour will be welcomed across the sector and by everyone working in NNL for whom Paul has been a supportive and encouraging colleague and leader.”

Paul Howarth said:

“Whilst receiving this recognition is an immense personal privilege it also reflects the collective effort of the many talented and dedicated people that work at NNL and in the sector more broadly.

It is an honour that, more than anything, reflects the significance of the role that NNL and indeed nuclear has played, and will continue to play, as we progress all aspects of the work we do to benefit society. And it would not have been possible without the tremendous support from those that have helped me personally throughout my career; my fellow work colleagues, as well as personally my wife and family.“