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  Investigating the physio-chemical behaviour of fission products within nuclear grade graphite

   Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering

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  Dr Alex Theodosiou  Applications accepted all year round  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

It is now widely accepted that nuclear power has an integral role to play in the UK, if the ambitious targets of reaching net-zero are to be achieved. New nuclear involves a range of possible design options, including very/high temperature reactors (V/HTRs) and molten salt reactors (MSRs) amongst others. Nuclear graphite has historically been used as an integral part of reactor design, particularly in the UK where it has been used extensively as a neutron moderator. Since then, graphite research has led to the development of other nuclear grades which are now candidates for use in the new generation of reactor designs. The US Department of Energy (DoE) and international regulators are specifically interested in targeted research to improve understanding of the physio-chemical behaviour of fission products within these graphites and, in particular, investigate and quantify the transport/retention mechanisms that exist.

 This project aims to study a range of nuclear grade graphites implanted with fission product species, such as Cesium (Cs), Strontium (Sr), Iodine (I), Krypton (Kr), Silver (Ag), Ruthenium (Ru) and Europium (Eu) using scientific techniques such as X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), Secondary ion mass spectroscopy (SIMS, Raman microscopy and X-ray diffraction (XRD) amongst others. The systems will be fully characterised and the movement of these species and particularly their behaviour at elevated temperatures will be analysed to address the potential safety concerns in operational and accident conditions.

You will be working at the new Henry Royce Institute Hub building with access to brand new laboratories and state-of-the-art equipment within the Nuclear Graphite Research Group (NGRG). You will work across departments and will also have access to and comprehensive training on the World leading Hard x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy facility (HAXPES) amongst other exciting prospects. You will also be working closely with other academic institutions and will have the opportunity to present your research at both national and international conferences.

Before you apply 

We strongly recommend that you contact the lead supervisor for this project before you apply. 

How to apply 

To be considered for this project you’ll need to complete a formal application through our online application portal

When applying, you’ll need to specify the full name of this project, the name of your supervisor, details of your previous study, and names and contact details of two referees

Your application will not be processed without all of the required documents submitted at the time of application, and we cannot accept responsibility for late or missed deadlines. Incomplete applications will not be considered.  

If you have any questions about making an application, please contact our admissions team by emailing [Email Address Removed]

Equality, diversity and inclusion 

Equality, diversity and inclusion is fundamental to the success of The University of Manchester and is at the heart of all of our activities. We know that diversity strengthens our research community, leading to enhanced research creativity, productivity and quality, and societal and economic impact.

We actively encourage applicants from diverse career paths and backgrounds and from all sections of the community, regardless of age, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation and transgender status. 

We also support applications from those returning from a career break or other roles. We consider offering flexible study arrangements (including part-time: 50%, 60% or 80%, depending on the project/funder). 

Chemistry (6) Engineering (12) Physics (29)

Funding Notes

The Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering is pleased to offer a studentship in support of this research project. The studentship will cover fees at the Home rate and provide a tax-free stipend at the UKRI standard rate (£17,668 in 2022/23) to cover living costs. European Union students who hold permission to leave under the EU Settlement Scheme and meet the residency requirement for Home fees are very welcome to apply.

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