Actinide immobilisation within iron oxyhydroxide phases Dev of X ray spectroscopy tech with apps to nuclear decomissioning and geological disposal

Lead Research Organisation: University of Manchester
Department Name: Earth Atmospheric and Env Sciences

Abstract

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Publications

10 25 50
 
Description See previous years submission
Exploitation Route The research into the immobilisation of actinides into iron oxides phases is now being further explored though an EPSRC PhD studentship supported by the National Nuclear Laboratory. We are now looking into the long term behaviour of the incorporated actinides to see if they remain immobilised in the long term. If so, this may be a mechanism by which actinide migration may be limited in a geological disposal facility for radioactive waste. The results of all these projects are being communicated to Radioactive Waste Management (RWM) to inform their safty case for the geological disposal of radioactive waste.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Chemicals,Energy,Environment,Security and Diplomacy

 
Description The finding of this study have shown the potential for actinides to be incorporated within iron oxides phases which naturally form in the environment/geosphere. This work is being used to inform understanding of the behaviour of radionuclides during the long term disposal of radioactive waste in the subsurface. This has led to further research to explore the longevity of radionuclide incorporation within iron oxide minerals during changing geochemical conditions. This work has been communicated to Research Waste Management (RWM).
First Year Of Impact 2019
Sector Energy,Environment
Impact Types Policy & public services

 
Description Futures
Amount £498,994 (GBP)
Funding ID ST/N002474/1 
Organisation Science and Technologies Facilities Council (STFC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2016 
End 03/2018
 
Description Long-term interactions of radionuclides with iron oxyhydroxides in geodisposal and contaminated land environments: A combined abiotic and biological
Amount £120,000 (GBP)
Funding ID 2094705 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2018 
End 09/2022
 
Title Triple containment cell of X-ray Adsorption Spectroscopy analysis of transuranic (e.g. Np and Pu) containing samples at the Diamond Light Source 
Description Triple containment cell of X-ray Adsorption Spectroscopy analysis of transuranic (e.g. Np) containing samples. Utilised for studies of Np containing samples on I20 and B18 at the Diamond Light Source. In 2017 the triple containment cell design and construction has been completed. Extensive beam damage and mechanical testing was also successfully completed. In December 2017 the cell was used to collect the first plutonium X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy data ever collected in the UK. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2017 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact New capability for analysing samples on the Diamond Light Source. The project has focused on characterising the interaction of plutonium with iron oxyhydroxides nanoparticles related to the Enhanced Actinide Removal Plant (EARP) at the Sellafield site. This outputs from this research are having a direct impact on the operation of this facility. 
URL http://www.envradnet.co.uk/np-pu-interaction-with-minerals-ss
 
Description Collaboration with Clemson University 
Organisation Clemson University
Department College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We are conducting field experiments with Clemson University using the Savannah River Test bed facility to replicate our laboratory experiments at UoM that address environmental aging of uranic materials.
Collaborator Contribution Full access to field kit, personnel, and analysis
Impact None as yet
Start Year 2017
 
Description Np/Pu interaction with minerals 
Organisation University of Manchester
Department School of Earth and Environmental Sciences
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution This project was supported by the Env-Rad-Net small project fund. The project was allocated £26100 (funded at 80% FEC) funding
Collaborator Contribution The team aim to deliver the following project: The UK has high and intermediate level radioactive wastes containing large quantities of neptunium and plutonium. Currently, it is UK Government policy that these wastes should be contained within a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF). Within a GDF, sorption to minerals will be one of the key factors limiting the release of radionuclides to the biosphere. If the environmental behavior of transuranic elements, such as plutonium, are to be predicted a molecular scale understanding of their speciation is essential. High intensity X-rays generated by synchrotron facilities can be used to probe radionuclide speciation via X-ray Adsorption Spectroscopy (XAS). Currently, it is possible to perform XAS on low-level Np samples at the Diamond Light Source (DLS). However, the high radiotoxicity of Pu isotopes makes analysis at synchrotron facilities challenging as comprehensive safe systems of work and dedicated sample cells are required. Hence, there is currently no UK capability to analyse higher activity samples and those containing Pu isotopes. Therefore, the key aim of this project is to develop the procedures and sample cells that are required facilitate analysis at the DLS. Further, this new capability will be used to probe the behaviour of neptunium and plutonium in systems containing relevant minerals.
Impact The project has been awarded beamtime on beamlines I20 and B18 (X-ray Adsorption Spectroscopy) at the Diamond light Source. Project started Sept 2016. Project is multidisciplinary involving environmental scientists and engineers. Project has developed a triple containment cell for analysing samples containing Np and Pu. In 2017 the triple containment cell design and construction has been completed. Extensive beam damage and mechanical testing was also successfully completed. In December 2017 the cell was used to collect the first plutonium X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy data ever collected in the UK. The project has focused on characterising the interaction of plutonium with iron oxyhydroxides nanoparticles related to the Enhanced Actinide Removal Plant (EARP) at the Sellafield site. This outputs from this research are having a direct impact on the operation of this facility.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Pint of Science 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Pint of Science Manchester is part of a worldwide Pint of Science team, organising a three day festival in pubs with themes including, Planet Earth, Our Body, Beautiful Mind, Atoms to Galaxies, Tech Me Out and Social Sciences. In 2014 participated in the Planet Earth team organising speakers across a broad range of topics to speak to the public, with discussions and activities. For the 2015 festival, I am a Manchester coordinator managing the teams for our area and promoting the festival in the local area.

The public feedback we received was extremely positive with requests for the next festival
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014,2015,2016
URL http://www.pintofscience.com/
 
Description Pint of Science at Manchester Science Festival 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact As part of the Manchester Science Festival, Pint of Science held an event to highlight its festival from earlier in the year. Members of the public were able to listen to 6 speakers from across the university, in addition to getting involved with interactive activities during the intervals. Themes covered includes beautiful mind, planet earth, our society, tech me out, atoms to galaxies and our body.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2008,2015,2016
URL http://www.pintofscience.co.uk
 
Description RCRD at Science Spectacular 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact As part of the Science Spectacular event at the Manchester Science festival, the Research Centre for Radwaste and Decommissioning created a stall to explain geological disposal facilities (GDF) and the science that is being put into helping understand mineralogical and biological processes within a GDF. The public were very engaged with the stall, with students being interested in the practical sides that they could be involved with and their parents being able to ask members of the research group further questions.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.engagement.manchester.ac.uk/highlights/manchester_science_festival/science_spectacular/
 
Description RSC ChemNet event 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Provided a talk on my PhD research to A level students from schools across the county to promote higher education and where it can lead you. This led into a Q and A session about my research.

After the talk, I am aware that the majority who attended went on to higher education to study a STEM subject.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Science Busking 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Engaged with the visitors to the event using quick 'science tricks' which were to promote easy, try this at home activities which would involve a STEM subject.

Although I have only been involved in science busking for the past two years, it has been an important part of the Science Spectacular event at the Manchester Science festival for many years. During my second science busking year, a parent spoke to me about how their family had returned because of the science busking. Her child had thoroughly enjoyed getting involved and wanted to return!
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013,2014,2015,2016
 
Description Science Rocks event at University of Manchester 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact The Earth Science department at The University of Manchester teamed up with Science Grrl to create a STEM event aimed at females ages 10-14 that would promote STEM subjects. The event consisted of three themes with talks and activities which were fossils, radioactivity and minerals. I presented a talk on radioactivity and demonstrated different

Students who attended the event thoroughly enjoyed the activities and feedback showed that pupils were interested in taking STEM subjects at a higher level
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://sciencegrrl.co.uk/events/event/science-rocks/