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About the Project

Reference number: CFP-LJ1-2020
Closing date of advert: 9 July 20
Start Date: 01 October 2020

Primary supervisor: Dr Lewis Jones
Secondary supervisor: Dr Ed Long, Prof. John Tyrer

Nuclear decommissioning is one of many industries with the need to process hazardous materials, putting operators and their equipment at high risk. Utilising world-leading laser processing and optical diagnostic testing equipment at Loughborough University the candidate will research the use of lasers for safe processing of radioactive contaminated materials and will work in partnership with National Nuclear Laboratory to access testing facilities for novel processing of radioactive materials.

The project aims to develop new scientific and engineering understanding in the material breakdown characteristics and processing conditions required for this challenging application. It will also develop the candidate by providing opportunities to attend academic conferences, industrial visits, joining the National Nuclear Laboratory research network, and other training courses to cultivate a wide variety of technical and transferrable skills throughout the project.

Full Project Detail:

Nuclear decommissioning is a vast international industry supporting the production of clean energy, and UK expertise sought worldwide. It is expected to cost the UK £130bn and take 120 years to clean up our existing infrastructure. This provides the motivation for developing new technologies which will make long-term impacts on productivity and safety in this industry. Laser cutting has potential as one of the most suitable methods due to the fine detail of cutting and process control that can be achieved with a remotely controllable process. However, these processes generate large amounts of highly energised nano-particulate and unknown, potentially radioactive hazards.

This PhD research project aims to characterise, analyse and experimentally validate the unique process of laser cutting radioactive materials to understand the hazard potential during radioactive facility decommissioning and future manufacturing. It is expected that work will involve significant experimental studies to combine laser processing equipment with the state-of-the-art optical diagnostic labs at Loughborough University to generate models of the process. These results will then be used to perform detailed analyses of the health effects, materials processing strategies, and environmental impacts. This work is critical to the personal and environmental safety of nuclear decommissioning and will create significant national and international transferable knowledge to all laser processing industries.

Entry requirements:

Applicants should have or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) in Engineering, Physics, Chemistry or a related subject. A relevant Master’s degree and/or experience in one or more of the following will be an advantage: Laser processing, optical diagnostics, nuclear engineering, materials science. In your application, please provide a personal statement of how your skills are suited to this project.

Contact details:

Name: Dr Lewis Jones
Email address:
Telephone number: +44 (0)1509 227594

How to apply:

All applications should be made online at Under programme name, select ‘Mechanical & Manufacturing Engineering’.

Please quote reference number: CFP-LJ1-2020

Funding Notes

Funded in partnership by the Wolfson School and Nuclear Decommissioning Authority this UK/EU studentship provides a 3-year tax-free stipend of £20,009 per annum, plus tuition fees of £4,407. While we welcome applications from non-EU nationals, please be advised that it will only be possible to fund the tuition fees at the International rate and no stipend will be available.

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