Core UK Equipment Base for Characterisation and Analysis of Highly Radioactive Materials

Lead Research Organisation: University of Manchester
Department Name: Chemistry

Abstract

Academic nuclear fission research has increased over the last ten years from a base of around zero to a current portfolio about 38M (typically 8-9M/annum). Both industry and the extensive UK university network involved in nuclear research have stressed the importance of research using authentic, and thus by definition highly radioactive, materials. While a few UK universities routinely use small quantities of radioactive materials in their own laboratories, the only facility in the UK that could be accessed by university researchers for work on highly radioactive materials is the NNL's Central Laboratory.Due to the absence of suitable facilities and equipment, any nuclear research carried out by UK academia is restricted either to simulants or to limited programmes carried out overseas. While the quality of science is good within these constraints, all overseas competitors now have access to specialised facilities in national laboratories and work based on simulants is increasingly seen as falling below the normal quality benchmark. Any credible UK research programme must therefore have at its foundation the ability to work with and characterise highly radioactive samples. The UK also faces major R&D and skills challenges in many areas of nuclear science and technology, which can only be met by a concerted, cross-disciplinary, cross-institutional programme of research and training built around close collaboration between industry, regulators and academia. This programme must be underpinned by facilities not just for the preparation of highly radioactive samples, but also for their characterisation. Since Central Laboratory is presently geared towards industrially driven development in which characterisation is a lesser priority, its capability in this area needs to be significantly enhanced. The provision of state-of-the-art analysis and characterisation facilities will therefore support research across all of the UK's priority nuclear research themes, and thus benefit the entire nuclear academic sector. We therefore propose to establish a core equipment base could be established in the National Nuclear Laboratory's Central Laboratory. This would be unique in the UK and facilitate world class fundamental research. Priority areas are spectroscopy and electron optics

Planned Impact

The equipment base proposed here will be used to support nuclear fission research and training programmes across the whole UK, and thus contribute across the spectrum of impact. Examples of ongoing activities which will be supported include: Government and Policymakers. The work of the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management, which is tasked with providing advice on and scrutiny of the developlemnt and implementation of Government's Managing Radioactive Waste Safely programme. Part of this work has involved a formal report to Government on Research and Development. The work of the Cabinet Office on Hazard Assesment and Decontamination, which provides advice on preparation for and responses to high consequence, low probability events. The work of the Ministry of Defence Nuclear Science Advisory Council, which provides technical advice on nuclear issues. The Wider Public. Activities conducted by existing projects, such as the Nuclear First Doctoral Training Centre, which has contributed to the EPSRC IMPACT! exhibition (displayed during 2010 at the Royal College of Arts, Cheltenham Science Festival and in the Wellcome Trust window display) The Next Generation. Activities conducted by existing projects, such as the Nuclear First Doctoral Training Centre, which, in 2010 alone, has contributed to the University College London Energy for the Future schools lectures (200 A-level students) and the Manchester Museum of Science & Industry Meet the Scientists event (>1000 school children of all ages).

Publications

10 25 50

publication icon
Higginson MA (2015) Synthesis of functionalised BTPhen derivatives - effects on solubility and americium extraction. in Dalton transactions (Cambridge, England : 2003)

 
Description The range of equipment specified in the grant application (primarily electron optics and chemical analysis instrumentation) has now been installed in the NNL Central Laboratory. and commissioned. The first papers containing results from this equipment have now been published
Exploitation Route These facilities can support both academic and non academic research The facilities will be available to support academic and non-academic research with highly radioactive materials. This will be managed through Central Laboratory Access Agreements, as pioneered by the University of Manchester
Sectors Energy

 
Description This is an equipment only grant
First Year Of Impact 2012
Sector Energy,Environment
Impact Types Economic,Policy & public services

 
Description Nuclear Advisory Committees
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
Impact Participation in a number of Government advisory committees, principally- Deputy chair, Committee on Radioactive Waste Management Member, Scientific Advice to Government in Emergencies (SAGE) group Member, Cabinet Office Scientific Advisory Committee on High Impact Threats Member, Scientific Advisory Committee, Government Decontamination Service Member, ad hoc Nuclear R&D Advisory Board Co-Author, Nuclear R&D Roadmap
URL https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/committee-on-radioactive-waste-management
 
Description National Nuclear User Facility
Amount £6,500,000 (GBP)
Organisation Department of Energy and Climate Change 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2015 
 
Description External users of equipment 
Organisation EDF Energy
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Provision of and access to equipment for analysis of highly radioactive materials
Collaborator Contribution Provision of samples and expertise; data interpretation
Impact Outputs primarily in data reported to collaborating organisation
Start Year 2015
 
Description External users of equipment 
Organisation Ionix Advanced Technologies
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Provision of and access to equipment for analysis of highly radioactive materials
Collaborator Contribution Provision of samples and expertise; data interpretation
Impact Outputs primarily in data reported to collaborating organisation
Start Year 2015
 
Description External users of equipment 
Organisation Sellafield Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Provision of and access to equipment for analysis of highly radioactive materials
Collaborator Contribution Provision of samples and expertise; data interpretation
Impact Outputs primarily in data reported to collaborating organisation
Start Year 2015
 
Description External users of equipment 
Organisation University of Leeds
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Provision of and access to equipment for analysis of highly radioactive materials
Collaborator Contribution Provision of samples and expertise; data interpretation
Impact Outputs primarily in data reported to collaborating organisation
Start Year 2015
 
Description External users of equipment 
Organisation University of Oxford
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Provision of and access to equipment for analysis of highly radioactive materials
Collaborator Contribution Provision of samples and expertise; data interpretation
Impact Outputs primarily in data reported to collaborating organisation
Start Year 2015
 
Description External users of equipment 
Organisation University of Sheffield
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Provision of and access to equipment for analysis of highly radioactive materials
Collaborator Contribution Provision of samples and expertise; data interpretation
Impact Outputs primarily in data reported to collaborating organisation
Start Year 2015
 
Description National Nuclear Laboratory 
Organisation National Nuclear Laboratory
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Experimental work with plutonium and neptunium
Collaborator Contribution Provision of facilities; interpretation and analysis of data
Impact See individual grants
Start Year 2009