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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/L015900/1
Title: EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Nuclear Energy: Building UK Civil Nuclear Skills for Global Markets.
Principal Investigator: Wenman, Dr MR
Other Investigators:
Fitzpatrick, Professor M Farnan, Professor I Bluck, Dr MJ
Nuttall, Professor WJ
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
AWE CEA (Atomic Energy Commission) (France) EDF
EMSL European Commission (EC) Hitachi Ltd
Horizon Nuclear Power Services Ltd Institute for Nuclear research Pitesti Joint Research Centre ITU
Laing O'Rourke Ltd Lloyd's Register Group National Nuclear Laboratory
Nuclear Decomissioning Authority Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Rolls-Royce Plc (UK)
Savannah River National Laboratory Tokamak Solutions UK Ltd UK Atomic Energy Authority
University of New South Wales Westinghouse Electric Company UK Limited
Department: Materials
Organisation: Imperial College London
Scheme: Centre for Doctoral Training
Starts: 01 April 2014 Ends: 30 September 2023 Value (£): 4,177,404
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Energy - Nuclear
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
23 Oct 2013 EPSRC CDT 2013 Interviews Panel L Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
A thriving nuclear industry is crucial to the UKs energy security and to clean up the legacy of over 50 years of nuclear power. The research performed in the ICO (Imperial Cambridge Open universities, pronounced ECO!) CDT will enable current reactors to be used longer, enable new reactors to be built and operated more safely, support the clean up and decommissioning of the UKs contaminated nuclear sites and place the UK at the forefront of international programmes for future reactors for civil and marine power. It will also provide a highly skilled and trained cohort of nuclear PhDs with a global vision and international outlook entirely appropriate for the UK nuclear industry, academia, regulators and government.

Key areas where ICO CDT will significantly improve our current understanding include in civil, structural, mechanical and chemical engineering as well as earth science and materials science. Specifically, in metallurgy we will perform world-leading research into steels in reactor and storage applications, Zr alloy cladding, welding, creep/fatigue and surface treatments for enhanced integrity. Other materials topics to be covered include developing improved and more durable ceramic, glass, glass composite and cement wasteforms; reactor life extension and structural integrity; and corrosion of metallic waste containers during storage and disposal. In engineering we will provide step change understanding of modelling of a number of areas including in: Reactor Physics (radionuclide transport, neutron transport in reactor systems, simulating radiation-fluid-solid interactions in reactors and finite element methods for transient kinetics of severe accident scenarios); Reactor Thermal Hydraulics (assessment of critical heat flux for reactors, buoyancy-driven natural circulation coolant flows for nuclear safety, simulated dynamics and heat transfer characteristics of severe accidents in nuclear reactors); and Materials and Structural Integrity (residual stress prediction, fuel performance, combined crystal plasticity and discrete dislocation modelling of failure in Zr cladding alloys, sensor materials and wasteforms). In earth science and engineering we will extend modelling of severe accidents to enable events arising from accidents such as those at Chernobyl and Fukushima to be predicted; and examine near field (waste and in repository materials) and far field (geology of rocks surrounding the repository) issues including radionuclide sorption and transport of relevance to the UKs geological repository (especially in geomechanics and rock fracture).

In addition, we will make key advances in development of next generation fission reactors such as examining flow behaviour of molten salts, new fuel materials, ultra high temperature non-oxide and MAX phase ceramics for fuels and cladding, thoria fuels and materials issues including disposal of wastes from Small Modular Reactors. We will examine areas of symbiosis in research for next generation fission and fusion reactors.

A key aspect of the ICO CDT will be the global outlook given to the students and the training in dealing with the media, a key issue in a sensitive topic such as nuclear where a sensible and science-based debate is crucial.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
Sectors submitted by the Researcher
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Organisation Website: http://www.imperial.ac.uk