This Industrial CASE funded project will determine the optimum methods for processing nuclear waste, prior to immobilisation using hot isostatic pressing (HIP).
HIP is a powerful and versatile method for consolidation of nuclear waste into durable ceramic wasteforms. One of the key challenges in developing HIP based solutions is how the material is processed, before it goes for final consolidation. This PhD project will address this challenge through a variety of process optimisation methods. The PhD will initially be aligned with process development for disposition of UK surplus PuO2 stocks using non-active surrogates. Immobilisation requires milling of PuO2 powder and mixing with a ceramic precursor, with the necessary precursor prone to agglomeration during processing. The project will study innovative precursor preparation and milling methods to ensure that agglomeration does not occur. The optimum methods will then be developed for use with active materials. Subsequent work packages will be designed to align with NNL’s ongoing involvement in the UK Advanced Fuel Cycle Programme.
One of the key challenges in developing such solutions for nuclear waste immobilisation is how to the material is prepared, before it goes for final consolidation. This PhD project will address this challenge through process optimisation finalising the powder ready for hot isostatic pressing, where the powder is consolidated into a solid monolith ready for storage. The PhD will develop methods suitable for use when immobilising uranium and plutonium but will use non-active surrogates. The optimum methods will then be developed for use with active materials.
The project will be based at the Centre for Innovative Nuclear Decommissioning (CINDe) which is located within the National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) in Workington, Cumbria, and will work with the industrial facilities there. The PhD student will be embedded within NNL taking advantage of the facilities and opportunities available, and will have both academic and industrial supervisors with regular meetings.
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