Optimising detritiation of solid materials during thermal treatment

   Department of Materials

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  Prof Phil Edmondson  Applications accepted all year round  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Industrial collaboration

United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA)


Nuclear fusion offers the potential for low carbon, sustained electricity generation. This is predicated on the production and availability of fuel within the reactor. In the case of optimal energy production in fusion, the fuel is in the form of two of the isotopes of hydrogen – deuterium and tritium. However, tritium, being radioactive, then becomes the primary radionuclide within all waste that is generated during operations of a fusion reactor and during final decommissioning.

Methods to remove the tritium from some metals have been developed by UKAEA and have been successfully demonstrated in it’s Materials Detritiation Facility (MDF) located at UKAEA Culham, treating over 20 tonnes of Stainless Steel, Inconel and Graphite/CFC while capturing the tritium for later re-use in fusion research and ensuring the sustainability of fusion research/energy.

In this project studies will be undertaken using deuterated and tritiated materials to understand the factors that affect the detritiation rate and efficiency of materials to allow the development of equations and a model of detritiation and ensure the process can be optimised in an industrial setting.

A portion of this work is expected to be conducted in collaboration with scientists at key facilities at the UKAEA at Culham, namely the Hydrogen-3 Advanced Technology (H3AT), Materials Detritiation Facility (MDF), Tritium Analysis Lab (TAL) and the Materials Research Facility (MRF).

Admissions qualifications

Applicants should have or expect to achieve at least a 2.1 honours degree in Materials science, physics, chemistry, chemical engineering, or related discipline.

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)

Funding Notes

The duration of the funding is 3.5 years for UK students only. plus stipend at the current UKRI rate
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