The Wolfson School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering has seen 100% of its research impact rated as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’, underlining the wide-ranging positive impacts that our research has on the world (REF, 2021).
In choosing Loughborough for your research, you’ll work alongside academics who are leaders in their field. You will benefit from comprehensive support and guidance from our Doctoral College, including tailored careers advice, to help you succeed in your research and future career.
This four year PhD programme offers the candidate the opportunity to participate in critical research on the safe and effective use of lasers in nuclear decommissioning. This is an industrially sponsored PhD programme in a joint collaboration between Loughborough University and the National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL).
The first year of the PhD will take place at Loughborough University to undertake initial research training and develop core engineering expertise in the optical engineering facilities. Years 2-4 of the PhD will be based at the Centre for Innovative Nuclear Decommissioning (CINDe) at the NNL facility in Workington, Cumbria, using the laser equipment within the National Nuclear User Facility: Hot Robotics Facility, where you will receive additional support and supervision from experienced nuclear scientists. The project will also provide opportunities to attend academic conferences and other training courses to develop a wide variety of technical and transferrable skills throughout the project.
Although laser cutting has been used in manufacturing for many years its effects on contaminated radioactive materials are relatively unknown. There are significant process control challenges that need to be overcome to make this technology effective and most importantly safe for use in this large industry. This environment has significantly different process requirements compared to conventional manufacturing environments and requires a novel research-led approach to the problem. There are many challenges to performing laser by-product (fume/particulate) abatement in the context of nuclear decommissioning (both cutting and decontamination).
The aim of the research is to develop a novel engineering capability to capture locally dust/fume generated when using lasers for cutting or decontamination by robots in nuclear decommissioning. The need is to reduce the current spread of contamination and the burden on building extract filters. The proposed research will identify the physical phenomena that can be used to handle and separate laser-generated fume for pre-filtering and use this new knowledge to develop solutions for localised separation and pre-filtering systems to enable laser cutting in radioactive environments.
Entry requirements for United Kingdom
Our entry requirements are listed using standard UK undergraduate degree classifications i.e. first-class honours, upper second-class honours and lower second-class honours. To learn the equivalent for your country, please see the project website.
Applicants should have or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 honours degree (or equivalent) in engineering, physics or a related subject. A relevant master’s degree and/or experience in laser processing or nuclear engineering will be an advantage. In your application please provide a personal statement of how your skills are suited to this project.
The nature of the CINDe programme means that we must comply with the government’s protective security procedures. All students will be subject to a base line standard security check. Due to visa restrictions and the study location, international candidates who hold a student visa will not be eligible for this opportunity. The project is subject to external funding and should the industrial funder default the project would be withdrawn.
English language requirements
Applicants must meet the minimum English language requirements. Further details are available on the International website.
Fees and Tuition
Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessment and operating University facilities such as the library, IT equipment and other support services. University fees and charges can be paid in advance and there are several methods of payment, including online payments and payment by instalment. Fees are reviewed annually and are likely to increase to take into account inflationary pressures.
Subject to final contracts being signed, this project is funded in partnership with EPSRC and the National Nuclear Laboratory and provides a 4-year tax-free stipend of £20,062 per annum plus tuition fees at the UK rate. Non-UK nationals are eligible to apply but the difference between the UK and International tuition fees cannot be covered by the Research Council grant and must therefore be met from other sources.
The EPSRC grant is also subject to a 30% cap on non-UK nationals. In order to qualify for UK fees, you must meet the eligibility criteria including the minimum UK residency requirement. The project is subject to external funding & should the industrial funder default the project would be withdrawn.
How to Apply
All applications should be made online. Under programme name, select ‘Mechanical & Manufacturing Engineering’.
Please quote the advertised reference number: iCASE-LJ-2022 in your application.
To avoid delays in processing your application, please ensure that you submit the minimum supporting documents.