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GREENCDT Radiological decontamination using hydrogels

   EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Nuclear Energy - GREEN

  ,  Applications accepted all year round  Competition Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

The UK faces a > 100 year, £ 140 bn challenge to decommission its historic nuclear facilities. Many of these facilities have contaminated surfaces, including both impermeable (glass, metal, paint) and permeable materials (brick, concrete) finishes. The waste hierarchy (right) provides incentives to decontaminate these materials, opening opportunities to recycle them, particularly metals; reuse them, for example using construction materials as aggregate or hardcore; or minimise them, for example decontaminating ILW to LLW. Moreover, effective decontamination can concentrate radioactivity into a smaller volume of easily managed material, allowing larger volumes of material to be directed into easier management routes. One way of achieving these objectives to this is to remove the surface contamination, for example through use of strippable coatings. The aim of this project is to develop hydrogels that are capable of decontaminating multiple different surfaces: paint, concrete, plastic, brick, steel. We will investigate this using both real world samples and simulated samples with the aim of making the process more efficient, cost effective and sustainable. The project will involve the formulation, synthesis and characterisation of hydrogels;  the handling of radio-isotopes; the use of the relevant characterisation techniques (gamma counting, liquid scintillation counting, autoradiography etc.).

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