An investigation of metallic uranium corrosion in a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF) setting.
Geological disposal is internationally recognised as the safest long-term solution for higher activity radioactive wastes and the UK’s legacy wastes, including those containing uranium metal, are intended to be managed in this way. This project will investigate the corrosion behaviour of unirradiated Magnox uranium metal, under conditions analogous to a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF) both (i) pre-closure and (ii) post-closure. The project will also seek to conduct analysis of micro-samples of reactor-irradiated uranium to determine if corrosion rates are closely comparable to those derived from unirradiated metal.
You will use cutting edge materials analysis techniques to provide a nano to micro to millimetre scale observation of uranium corrosion behaviour. Techniques will include X-ray tomography (XRT), secondary ion mass spectrometry, high-resolution electron microscopy and X-ray diffraction. The techniques are all routinely used and available at the IAC in Bristol, which is a leading international centre for uranium research, and lead institution for the Sellafield Centre of Expertise (CoE) for Uranium and Reactive Metals (URM). To compliment the materials analysis, leaching studies will utilise solution analysis techniques such as ICP-MS and ICP-OES to determine evolving U concentrations in different GDF-analogous groundwater solutions (oxic and anoxic). In addition, the project will seek to link with a planned Sellafield-NNL-Bristol project to conduct experiments on irradiated uranium to determine corrosion rates under different exposure conditions.
The researcher will be based within the Interface Analysis Centre, School of Physics, University of Bristol. They will also work closely with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) and specifically Radioactive Waste Management (RWM). The supervisor team for this project: Professor Tom Scott and Dr Ross Springell.
Funding will cover UK/EU tuition fees, maintenance at the UKRI Doctoral Stipend rate (£15,009 per annum, 2019/20 rate) and additionally comes with a training support payment of £1,000 per annum (both for 4 years).