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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/J000779/1
Title: REFINE: A coordinated materials programme for the sustainable REduction of spent Fuel vital In a closed loop Nuclear Energy cycle
Principal Investigator: Mount, Professor A
Other Investigators:
Walton, Professor AJ
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Sch of Chemistry
Organisation: University of Edinburgh
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 October 2011 Ends: 31 March 2016 Value (£): 1,099,515
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Electrochemical Science & Eng. Energy - Nuclear
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
EP/J000582/1 EP/J000795/1 EP/J000531/1 EP/J000760/1
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
12 May 2011 EPSRC Physical Sciences Chemistry* Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Nuclear fission is currently internationally recognised as a key low carbon energy source, vital in the fight against global warming, which has stimulated much interest and recent investment. For example, RCUK's energy programme has identified nuclear fission as an essential part of the "trinity" of future fuel options for the UK, alongside renewables and clean coal. However, nuclear energy is controversial, with heartfelt opinion both for and against, and there is a real requirement to make it cleaner and greener. Large international programmes of work are needed to deliver safe, reliable, economic and sustainable nuclear energy on the scale required in both the short and long term, through Gen III+ & Gen IV reactor systems. A pressing worldwide need is the development of specific spent fuel reprocessing technology suitable for these new reactors (as well as for dealing with legacy waste fuel from old reactors).

The REFINE programme will assemble a multidisciplinary team across five partner universities and NNL, the UK's national nuclear laboratory to address this fuel reprocessing issue. The consortium will carry out a materials research programme to deliver fuel reprocessing by developing materials electrosynthesis through direct oxide reduction and selective electrodissolution and electroplating from molten salt systems. Developing, optimising and controlling these processes will provide methods for, and a fundamental understanding of, how best to reprocess nuclear fuel. This is in addition to the development of techniques for new molten salt systems, new sensing and analysis technologies and the establishment of the kinetics and mechanisms by which molten salt processes occur. This will facilitate rapid process development and optimization, as well as the generation of applications in related areas.

A key output of the programme will be the training and development of the multidisciplinary UK researchers required to make possible clean nuclear energy and generate complementary scientific and technological breakthroughs.

Key Findings
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