University launches project to find engineering solutions for future nuclear reactors

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A NUCLEAR research programme based at the University of Huddersfield has received £678,000 to investigate solutions to engineering challenges in the nuclear reactors of the future.

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) has granted the money towards the cost of a three-year, £856,000 project.

Problems can be caused by atoms which are displaced and the accumulation of gases in the materials used for the construction of nuclear reactors. It is possible that the material can in effect repair itself by creating surfaces that act as sinks where this can happen.

The project is headed by Dr Jonathan Hinks, a senior research fellow at the University of Huddersfield, and is in collaboration with the University of Surrey. It brings together the computer modelling expertise from Surrey with the experimental data gathered at Huddersfield using its highly-advanced facility named Microscope and Ion Accelerator for Materials Investigations (MIAMI).

The new award for nanoporous materials research is the latest in a sequence of EPSRC grants that have confirmed the University of Huddersfield as a key centre for the analysis of nuclear materials.

They include £889,839 for a project headed by Prof Stephen Donnelly and Dr Hinks that will investigate the damage caused by irradiation of the materials that are used for the construction of reactors and for the long-term safe disposal of radioactive waste.

It has also been announced that the University will receive £3.5m in order to construct MIAMI II, an advanced electron microscope that has dual ion-beams, meaning it will be an even more valuable research tool than the existing MIAMI I, which was co-developed by Prof Donnelly and Dr Hinks.