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GREENCDT The design and simulation of micro-reactors for space propulsion, lunar surface power and planetary defence

   EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Nuclear Energy - GREEN

  , , Dr Olga Negri, Prof Ben Lindley  Thursday, August 31, 2023  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

There is increasing interest in enabling humans to explore further into space and for longer periods of time than has historically been achieved, including a permanent presence on the lunar surface and travel to Mars. To achieve these aims it will be important to design and develop compact, efficient, long-life (up to 10 years), and high-power (MW-electric scale) nuclear reactor systems. These high-power space reactor designs also open up the foundations for humanity to develop a wider array of systems capable of deflecting near Earth objects on a potential collision course with Earth.

The project will involve 3D simulation of micro-reactors for the purposes outlined above, with a focus on neutronics and fuel behaviour. Given the important role fuel integrity plays in determining if a reactor concept is viable, there will be a particular focus on ensuring the fuel can operate within its design limits for the mission objectives and make use of advanced uncertainty analysis techniques in the area of fuel simulation. The successful student will have the opportunity to work with leading experts in the UK and the US in modelling micro-reactors.

The successful candidate should have experience in the following areas: use of a programming language (such as Python); manipulation of large datasets; probability theory; and most importantly an interest in understanding and applying mathematical processes to solve real-world problems using computational infrastructure.

Applications should include: a cover letter, including their motivation for this PhD studentship; a full CV; and the contact details of two academic referees. These should be sent to Dr Aiden Peakman () with the subject line “PhD studentship – GREEN CDT”.

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