About SONE

Campaigning for Nuclear Energy since 1998

Supporters of Nuclear Energy (SONE)

is a group of individuals of many different disciplines, interests and backgrounds. We have one objective: To promote an informed debate about nuclear’s place in the global energy supply, and how it can help power the world’s economic development in a sustainable way.

SONE is entirely independent and is personally funded by its members.

As an independent body, our objective is to secure progress towards ensuring that the UK is firmly committed to having a programme of new nuclear power plants to deliver affordable, reliable and low-carbon electricity to homes and businesses. SONE members believe that:

  • Nuclear energy is a safe, reliable, economic and environmentally acceptable way of providing electricity.
  • Nuclear energy is, on present knowledge, essential to the world’s continued development if serious climatic changes are to be avoided.

These beliefs are underpinned by three convictions:

  • Nuclear energy must not only be safe, but also seen to be safe and permitted to manage its waste properly.
  • Nuclear energy must be able to compete on equal terms with other sources of energy while maintaining the highest levels of safety.
  • Nuclear energy must be subject of an open and honest dialogue with the public


SONE was formed in 1998 by Neville Chamberlain and Sir Bernard Ingham. It was incorporated as a Limited Company on 1 June 1998.

SONE’s first chairman was Sir Christopher Harding, but Sir William McAlpine succeeded him after Sir Christopher’s death in 1999, and continued until 2018.


SONE is run by a committee elected at the Annual General Meeting. The current committee members, elected on 16 October 2023, are:

Neville Chamberlain CBE
Honorary Chairman and co-founder
Neville graduated in physics and spent a brief period as an X-ray crystallographer before joining the UKAEA, initially as a Health Physicist. He was to spend all his working life in the nuclear industry, including ten years as CEO of BNFL. After retiring from BNFL, he went on to be Chairman of the Anglo-Dutch-German uranium enrichment company, Urenco, of which he had been a founding employee some thirty years earlier. He also spent some time as a non-executive Director of Essar Oil Ltd, operating the Stanlow refinery. In 1998, jointly with the late Sir Bernard Ingham, he founded Supporters Of Nuclear Energy, of which he is currently Chairman.
Wade Allison, MA DPhil
Honorary Secretary
Professor Emeritus and Fellow of Keble College, University of Oxford. Author of over 250 articles on particle physics, radiation and energy physics, listed on ResearchGate. Author of four books:
  • Fundamental Physics for Probing and Imaging (2006). Medical and environmental physics (OUP);
  • Radiation and Reason, the Impact of Science on a Culture of Fear (2009). An accessible exposure;
  • Nuclear is for Life, A Cultural Revolution (2015). A further uncomplicated study;
  • The Flight of a Relativistic Charge in Matter (2023). A theoretical and experimental study of Cherenkov radiation, transition radiation and energy loss (NatureSpringer).
Most recent articles include:
  • Nature, Energy and Society—A Scientific Study of the Options Facing Civilisation Today;
  • Society and Nuclear Energy: What is the Role for Radiological Protection? (Health Physics Society, to be published). A re-examination of the effects of radiation, contrasted with the unscientific regulations that currently inflate costs and obstruct the development of nuclear energy.
Robert MacLachlan
Honorary Treasurer
Robert qualified as a chartered accountant in 1965, then worked with Price Waterhouse in Montréal, Canada. Between 1967 to 1972 he worked in three successive finance jobs with international companies. From 1972 until 1995 he was first finance director and then managing director of a UK subsidiary of Teledyne, an international high-tech company. Then, until retirement, he managed a transfer of manufacture of a mining safety product from Berlin to Johannesburg.
John Assheton
Committee member and Communications
Left school in 1982 and trained as a computer programmer for two years. Joined a London-based stationery printing company, The Wren Press, and was involved with their typesetting and marketing. Moved to JLCrabtree Ltd, who were based outside Leeds, and ran the London office. As of 1990 he has owned and run The Mullet Press, a stationery printing business based in Oxfordshire. He has had a keen interest in Nuclear Physics and Engineering since school, but due to events in the 1980s the prospect of work within the industry was greatly reduced, so developed his computer and printing interests. He joined SONE in 2007, as the youngest member, to find an elaborate knowledge-base that rekindled a dormant interest in nuclear and its vital requirements for the future. He became a Committee member in the early 2010s to assist the production of the SONE Newsletter and correspondence with members.
Peter Havercan
Committee member and Webmaster
BSc in Mathematics at Imperial College, London (1968), and MSc in Astrophysics, University of Waterloo, Ontario (1971). Followed by a career in Computing, including ten years at the Daresbury Nuclear Physics Laboratory, Warrington, and twenty-six years at IBM's Hursley Laboratory in Hampshire. Published two patent disclosures for IBM: US 9705878 Handling Expired Passwords, US 8495754 Dual Trust Architecture. He has been a nuclear enthusiast for decades, having written an essay on Nuclear Physics for his school magazine in 1960! He joined SONE after attending a lecture by Wade Allison, and later volunteered to redevelop the SONE website.
Robin Smith
Committee member
Robin has held several roles in local government and the charity sector. Following studies at the London Business School, Robin became chief executive of four organisations - two Local Authorities and two Housing Associations – including Copeland Council for over 5 years during the early 1990s. This was at a time when the Sellafield site within Copeland was expanding, with the opening of the Thermal Oxide Reprocessing Plant and plans for the creation of Underground Waste Storage Facilities. Robin was active in the production of the North West Regional Plan and subsequently chaired the production of the South East Economic Statement in 1998.   Robin is an architect and town planner. Projects include the design and delivery of several thousand new social homes, regeneration of older housing stock, Shenley Garden Village and the Woodberry Down development in North London which was awarded National Demonstration status. Robin specialises in the design and delivery of regeneration projects, currently working in Croydon. He was lead Governor for Estates at the University of Chichester for nine years, and is a trustee of the Town & Country Planning Association.
Paul Spare
Committee member
Paul started in the nuclear industry in 1974, initially working on the design, safety cases and commissioning for Hartlepool/Heysham AGRs and Dungeness B, mainly relating to the fuel route. As head of the Mechanical Engineering office then worked on life extensions/plant upgrades for Hartlepool, Calder Hall, Hinkley Pt B and Bradwell. He moved to UKAEA in 1995 as project manager on various decommissioning projects at Harwell, Windscale and Dounreay. In 1999 he established the Warrington office of Nuclear Technologies Ltd, with a team producing decommissioning studies and safety cases. Since retirement he has continued to write papers and submissions on future nuclear and energy options. He is a Fellow of the IMechE and the Energy Institute.
Marie Zabell
Committee member
With a degree in Environmental and Earth Resources Engineering, Marie has, since 2008, administrated the Joan Pye Project: putting the case for nuclear energy in the UK, which is now a voluntary endeavour. Before having children, she worked in the nuclear industry as a consultant for Orano Group. Marie joined the SONE Committee in 2021 to advocate for nuclear energy, recognising that it’s the only truly sustainable, carbon-free energy source for a planet of 8+ billion people.


We invite you to join us in promoting such a debate because the national interest requires a substantial nuclear contribution to an environmentally acceptable mix of energy supplies. Without secure energy supplies when they are needed, we cannot maintain our people in work, our prosperity or lifestyle or generate the resources needed to protect our environment.

If you would like to contact anyone in the committee, refer to our contact page.