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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/M026558/1
Title: Silicate Nanoparticles for Extraction of Radionuclides (SINNER)
Principal Investigator: Ogden, Dr MD
Other Investigators:
Whittle, Professor KR
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Chemical & Biological Engineering
Organisation: University of Sheffield
Scheme: Standard Research - NR1
Starts: 30 April 2015 Ends: 31 August 2018 Value (£): 315,475
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Energy - Nuclear
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
10 Mar 2015 UK Korea Civil Nuclear Energy Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The recently published 'Nuclear Industrial Strategy' (2013) describes clearly the aspirations of the UK government for both 'New Build' power stations and the life extension of existing nuclear fleet within this timeline. Nuclear energy also remains a strategic priority for South Korea with capacity planned to be increased by 59% by 2022. New approaches need to be developed to manage high level (HLW), intermediate level (ILW) and low level waste (LLW) in a sustainable way, as well as methods for dealing with unresolved legacy issues.

This project combines the talents and capabilities within South Korea and the UK to develop solids phase materials that actively target and extract radioactive metals from nuclear wastes. This material is capable of concentrating radioactive metal ions from large volumes of waste in which the problematic radioactive metal ion may be present in small quantities. As an example, rather than sending LLW straight to the Low Level Waste Repository (LLWR) in Cumbria, these solid phase materials can be utilised as a method of waste treatment removing the radioactivity of the LLW so it can be safely disposed of in a landfill. This approach will extend the operational life of the LLWR, where space is limited.

Solid phase extractants like these can be developed to selectively target and scavenge specific radioactive metals ions. This work will look at making new solid phase materials to target and remove specific radioactive metal ions, such a cobalt and strontium. This will be done by changing the groups that bind the metal ions on the surface of the silica solid phase.

Work will be carried out to determine how these solid phases, which are silica based, once loaded with radioactive metals can be directly converted into a glass or hybrid glass/ceramic, glass/polymer waste form. Experiments will then determine how this waste form, once made, performs in its ability to safely contain the radioactive material.

The solid phase extractants, once developed, have the ability to be applied to a number of different decommissioning and remediation issues, such as cleaning up legacy cooling pond sludges or decontamination of soil and ground water.

The results from this work will extend the applicability of selective extractants and their use into other areas, while at the same time broadening and cementing collaboration ties between South Korea and the UK in the development of decommissioning technology for future nuclear strategy.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Organisation Website: http://www.shef.ac.uk