The Project

Effective and safe management of wastes are primary requirements for the nuclear industry per se. These wastes whether solid, liquid or gaseous arise from every stage of the nuclear fuel cycle and are treated to ensure they comply with stringent regulatory standards before final disposal into the environment.

 

Over the past two decades the need to accommodate wastes arising from the decommissioning of nuclear installations has gradually increased and in the next two decades will become the prime focus. It is crucial now and in the future that an integrated approach to waste management has been/is developed to ensure the overall decommissioning process produces an end product that can be disposed of safely with the minimal impact on the environment.

Academic Impact

This programme will enhance the separation science and technology skill base in the UK and Republic of Korea (ROK). The UK’s skill base and teaching/training of separation science has diminished significantly over the past few decades. This programme will stimulate a rekindling of this discipline and encourage others to consider its importance and value.

Developing nano-structured materials consistently, using a one pot synthesis (low cost) will transcend from the nuclear sector into others that require materials with precision structures and well defined properties.

Programme Hypothesis

The overarching hypothesis is the development of nano-structured materials (NSMs) that have high capacities, with good selectivity, fast kinetics that are economical to prepare and can be used to treat a variety of liquid wastes generated by the nuclear industry during normal operations and from the decommissioning of nuclear facilities.

The project is based on the needs of the industry and the expertise of the participants that will lead to innovative outputs and the resolution of waste management challenges, whilst providing opportunities to train young researchers.

Programme Objectives

Are:

  • The preparation and characterisation of nano-structured materials (NSMs) that have functionalities to accommodate various radionuclides.
  • Optimisation of the preparative conditions to produce cheap and fit for purpose NSMs.
  • Demonstration that the NSMs can operate and are stable over a wide pH functionality.

Programme and Methodology

The programme rationale has been developed with the members’ expertise and experience in-mind; the programme encompasses four components (work packages – WP) which require extensive interactions between the UK and ROK members:

  • WP 1 – Preparation and characterisation of fission product NSMs
  • WP 2 – Preparation and characterisation of actinide NSMs
  • WP 3 – Preparation and characterisation of functional magnetic NSMs
  • WP 4 – Project Management

A programme of national importance

A broad spectrum of stakeholders will benefit from our research programme. In summary, these benefits include:

  • Reduce dose uptake, recycle of liquids for onward use and cost savings (operators).
  • An end product that is a stable solid matrix that has immobilised radionuclides compatible with existing encapsulation technology (regulators).
  • Integrated treatment of nuclear waste reducing the impact on the environment (legislators).
  • Cleaner reactor systems and other facilities with waste minimised (politicians and the public).
  • Retention of skills and expertise within the industry and academia.
  • Easier transfer and comparison of technologies internationally.

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