About the Project
All commercial nuclear fuel reprocessing plants use the hydrometallurgical PUREX (Plutonium URanium EXtraction) process to chemically separate uranium and plutonium from used nuclear fuel. The separated uranium and plutonium are recycled as new fuels whilst the remaining highly radioactive liquid containing, amongst other things, fission products and minor actinides (neptunium, americium and curium) is calcined into glass and stored pending disposal as high level waste. Internationally, significant research effort is being expended to improve upon PUREX, especially with regards to:
• its proliferation resistance (so preventing the use of the recovered plutonium in weapons manufacture);
• its management of the highly radiotoxic minor actinides (now to be recycled as fuel materials and so burnt within a reactor rather than being ultimately sent to disposal).
These aims are being addressed through the development of new spent nuclear fuel recycle processes such as the GANEX (Grouped ActiNide EXtraction) process. Being new, there are a number of knowledge gaps associated with these processes, including fundamental understanding of the kinetics and thermodynamics of the complexation and solvent extraction processes from which they are comprised. This project aims to develop an understanding of the kinetics of key stages in the GANEX process through use of coupled spectroscopic / diffusion cell studies.
The NGN-CDT provides a 4 year, fully funded EPSRC studentship. The first year of this research programme includes a taught element, which aims to give you a broad knowledge of nuclear science and the fuel cycle, through MSc level modules. This is undertaken as a cohort of PhD students from other NGN-CDT participating Universities (Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield) and uses a problem-based enquiry style learning, which involves individual and collaborative work supported by lectures, tutorials and practical sessions.
Entrance Requirements: You should have a first class or good 2:1 degree (or equivalent) in engineering or chemistry or a related discipline.
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