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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/T011289/1
Title: National Nuclear User Facility at the Centre for Radiochemistry Research (CRR)
Principal Investigator: Liddle, Professor ST
Other Investigators:
Natrajan, Dr LS Mills, Professor DP Kaltsoyannis, Professor N
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Chemistry
Organisation: University of Manchester, The
Scheme: Standard Research - NR1
Starts: 01 November 2019 Ends: 31 May 2023 Value (£): 4,416,973
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Energy - Nuclear
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
12 Aug 2019 National Nuclear User Facility Phase 2 2019 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The Centre for Radiochemistry Research (CRR) at The University of Manchester (UoM) was established in 1999. It is a key part of UoM's nuclear facilities and capability portfolio and provided a pioneering link between academia and the nuclear sector, offering a unique and vital facility in the UK to conduct innovative, high-impact radiochemistry from blue-skies research to industry-ready development work. Given the harsh wear of radiochemical and nuclear research, after 20 years of service the original labs are being decommissioned and the UoM is building a new and expanded CRR which will enable us to work with higher levels of radioactive compounds, in-line with our institutions drive to work with 'real world' levels of active materials, and specifically to host this NNUF application.

There is a substantial portfolio of equipment that can be added to the new CRR from the old incarnation, but some items of equipment date back to 1990, which is far past reasonable operational lifetimes and they are now exceedingly unreliable and could become permanently inoperable at any moment. There is therefore a need to renew some of these items and also to add new capability to give added-value so that we may make a decisive step-change in capability in order to meet Government (BEIS), NIRAB, NNUF, and EPSRC national strategic goals. Therefore, we request an equipment bundle to forge a unique international capability that will include: (i) new dual-source single crystal X-ray diffractometer; (ii) replacement 400 MHz NMR spectrometer; (iii) new SQUID magnetometer; (iv) more sensitive and high-throughput alpha-, beta-, and gamma-radiometric counters; (v) glove boxes for transuranics including ATR-IR, balance, ball mill, centrifuge, and HF sonic welding for bagging-in/-out; (vi) spectroscopic suite of 2-photon, fluorescence, and LIBS spectometers; (vii) a national, managed stock of 237Np and 242Pu.

The requested equipment will integrate with existing kit in the new CRR to deliver a unique, comprehensive combination of state-of-the-art analytical, handling, and recycling techniques across solid and solution phases, in model and real conditions, enabling exciting, ground-breaking technical and scientific advances for the academic and industrial communities that will be internationally unrivalled. An indicative list of research areas that the NNUF@ CRR will be able to support includes: (i) speciation of coordination and organometallic complexes; (ii) spectroscopy; (iii) magnetism; (iv) environmental radiochemistry, geochemistry, mobility, and reprocessing; (v) analytical separations and low-level analyses; (vi) nuclear forensics; (vii) nuclear decommissioning of steels and concretes; (viii) colloids; (ix) computational modelling; (x) precursors to materials, fuels, and molten salts. The requested equipment will either directly contribute to the study of (i)-(x) or will peripherally support them. This facility will greatly reduce the enduring barriers to working with active samples, expanding the area and generating cohorts of early career researchers trained in radiochemistry and nuclear disciplines.

The CRR is run by a team composed of two Professorial co-directors, two Senior Experimental Officers, an administrator, and a technician in addition to two Readers who are co-investigators, and this team will constitue the management group of this NNUF that will also establish a diverse external advisory board.

Reflecting the importance of this capability to the priorities of the UoM, the CRR and this NNUF application enjoy strong institutional support by way of refurbishment, people, existing equipment, and 20% fEC contributions that gives a total of £10M matching funds. The new NNUF@CRR will be a strategic asset to the UK and play a vital and unique role in the UK and international nuclear landscape, and the demand for such a capability is evidenced by a strong portfolio of academic, national lab, and industrial Letters of Support.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.man.ac.uk