National Nuclear Laboratory

Cumbria, United Kingdom

National Nuclear Laboratory

Cumbria, United Kingdom
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News Article | February 23, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Today, Jo Johnson, Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, will confirm £128 million of funding for research equipment and facilities to develop advanced materials. A major part of the funding, £105 million, will be devoted to the construction of the building to host the Henry Royce Institute at The University of Manchester. The Henry Royce Institute is the UK's home of advanced materials research and innovation. The £235 million Institute will allow the UK to grow its world-leading research and innovation base in advanced-materials science, which is fundamental to all industrial sectors and the national economy. It is a critical component of the Government's Northern Powerhouse initiative and an attempt to boost economic growth in the North of England and balance the UK economy. The Institute will create the missing 'link' in the UK innovation chain allowing the iterative design of advanced materials for various applications such as energy efficient materials for ICT or materials for use in hazardous or demanding environments such as nuclear or aerospace. By helping to maximise UK research opportunities, the Institute will provide a critical component to delivering on the government's industrial strategy. It will reduce the timescales to translate discoveries to applications, provide strategic leadership together with training and career development in areas of particular need. Jo Johnson, Minister for Universities and Science said: "The Royce Institute and grants announced today will benefit our world-leading science and innovation sector. The funding will support development of advanced materials, such as graphene, for research applied in a variety of fields from aerospace to healthcare. "The government is determined to support further commercialisation of our science and research discoveries as innovation leads to new products, services and better ways of doing business. Our modern industrial strategy will help us ensure the UK maintains its status of one of the best places in the world to conduct research, discover and innovate." The beneficiaries in this first tranche of funding include the universities of Cambridge, Leeds, and Sheffield, Imperial College London and the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE), that form the satellite or spokes of the Institute, along with the Hub at The University of Manchester. Other spokes, the universities of Liverpool and Oxford and the National Nuclear Laboratory, will receive funding at a later date. Professor Philip Nelson, EPSRC's Chief Executive, said: "These investments are spread across five universities and CCFE will equip the research community with the facilities it needs to fully explore the exciting possibilities of advanced materials across a wide range of potential applications. The UK is in a strong position in this field and there is much to be optimistic about. We have no doubt that the Sir Henry Royce Institute will deliver a programme of work that ensures that fundamental science provides a well-spring for new innovations." Royce CEO Dr Andrew Hosty added: "This confirmation of significant government investment for the Henry Royce Institute via EPSRC is a crucial step in delivering a world-leading Institute in advanced materials science. "The funding will allow for state-of-the-art facilities and precision equipment to carry out fundamental research and produce the next generation of applications in a wide range of areas." This major first tranche investment is part of the £235 million capital funding announced for the Institute in the Autumn Statement 2014 and comes from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). For further information please contact the EPSRC Press Office on 01793 444 404 or email pressoffice@epsrc.ac.uk Press contact at the Royce Institute: Head of Communications and Engagement Daniel Cochlin Tel: 0161 275 8382 or 07917 506158 or email daniel.cochlin@royce.ac.uk The Henry Royce Institute brings together world-leading academics from across the UK, and works closely with industry to ensure commercialisation of fundamental research. The Institute will have its hub at The University of Manchester, with spokes at the founding partners, comprising the universities of Sheffield, Leeds, Liverpool, Cambridge, Oxford and Imperial College London. It will focus on nine key areas of materials research, which are grouped into four themes - Energy, Engineering, Functional and Soft Materials - critical areas to underpin the government's industrial strategy, resulting in economic growth throughout the UK. http://www. EPSRC is the lead funding partner for the Henry Royce Institute and main funding agency for engineering and physical sciences research. EPSRC's vision is for the UK to be the best place in the world to research, discover and innovate. By investing £800 million a year in research and postgraduate training, EPSRC is building the knowledge and skills base needed to address the scientific and technological challenges facing the nation. EPSRC's portfolio covers a vast range of fields from healthcare technologies to structural engineering, manufacturing to mathematics, advanced materials to chemistry. The research EPSRC funds has impact across all sectors. It provides a platform for future economic development in the UK and improvements for everyone's health, lifestyle and culture. We work collectively with our partners and other Research Councils on issues of common concern via Research Councils UK. http://www.


News Article | December 21, 2016
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Researchers from The University of Manchester have taken a major step forward by describing the quantitative modelling of the electronic structure of a family of uranium nitride compounds - a process that could in the future help with nuclear waste recycling technologies. This research has been published in the leading multi-disciplinary journal Nature Communications. "In this nuclear age, there is a pressing need for improved extraction agents for nuclear waste separations and recycling technologies," explained Professor Steve Liddle, Head of Inorganic Chemistry and Co-Director of the Centre for Radiochemistry Research at The University of Manchester. "To achieve this, a much better understanding of the electronic structure of actinide complexes is needed since this impacts on how these elements interact with extractants. "However, quantifying the electronic structure of these elements in molecules is a major challenge because many complex electronic effects become very important and of similar magnitude to each other with heavy elements. "This makes their modeling very complex and much more difficult than for more routinely probed elements such as the transition metals. "This means that traditional descriptions of the electronic structure of actinide elements are often of a qualitative nature - but this is precisely the area where quantitative models are needed because our understanding of core chemical concepts become increasingly nebulous at the foot of the periodic table." Many members of the team had previously reported uranium nitride and oxo complexes where the molecules are essentially the same except for swapping a single nitrogen atom for an oxygen. The team realised that the symmetry of the complexes and oxidation state of the uranium ions rendered them ideal systems from which to develop quantitative models. "However, the problem was that in order to move from qualitative to quantitative regimes a large family of molecules would be required to make the method robust, but their synthesis was not reliable," added Professor Liddle. "Fortunately, the team identified a new and reliable way to make the uranium nitride complexes. This enabled a large family of molecules to be prepared, which then gave the necessary platform from which to develop a robust quantitative model. "With a family of 15 nitride and oxo complexes, a wide range of state-of-the-art techniques available at Manchester were deployed. Using variable temperature magnetisation studies the researchers were able to gain key information about the some of the lowest-lying electronic states of the molecules. "Electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy, based in the national service at Manchester, was then used to further build a picture about the lowest-lying electronic states. "Finally, near-infrared spectroscopy provided information on the rest of the full electronic structure by probing electronic transitions into states above the ones probed by the first two techniques. In order to make sense of a wealth of experimental data advanced ab initio calculations were used to build a rough picture of the electronic structures of these complexes, which was then refined using the experimentally obtained data to provide a final quantitive picture of the electronic structure." * The project was also supported by the Royal Society, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, the European Research Council, The Universities of Manchester and Nottingham, the EPSRC UK National EPR Facility, and the National Nuclear Laboratory. The paper, 'Molecular and electronic structure of terminal and alkali metal-capped uranium(V) nitride complexes,' was published in Nature Communications. doi:10.1038/ncomms13773


Grant
Agency: GTR | Branch: STFC | Program: | Phase: Training Grant | Award Amount: 1.32M | Year: 2012

Doctoral Training Partnerships: a range of postgraduate training is funded by the Research Councils. For information on current funding routes, see the common terminology at www.rcuk.ac.uk/StudentshipTerminology. Training grants may be to one organisation or to a consortia of research organisations. This portal will show the lead organisation only.


News Article | March 2, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

University of Manchester scientists are leading a team which is to comprehensively map some of the world's most radioactive sites using sensing technology mounted on an advanced robotic vehicle. The world is home to a large number of sites which are contaminated with radioactive waste and require clean-up and analysis. Currently, the options to map and assess these sites are extremely expensive and time consuming - involving either removing samples for lab analysis or sending in remote sensors which only give part of the necessary picture. The team, led by The University of Manchester, has been awarded a £1.6 million grant by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council to form a group which will develop a new robotic system with the ability to use a wider range of sensors than ever before to map nuclear sites. Featuring optical spectroscopic techniques, advanced radiation detection methods and modern sensor technologies on remotely-operated vehicle platforms, each sensing technology will provide a piece of the 'total characterisation' jigsaw, together with 3D mapping of the material within the environment. It will feature advanced robotics and control technologies, such as those used in NASA's Curiosity Rover, to form the flexible platform necessary for trials in nuclear environments ranging from Sellafield in the UK, to Fukushima in Japan. Principal Investigator, Dr Phil Martin from The University of Manchester's School of Chemical Engineering and Analytical Science, said: "This is an exciting project bringing together a multi-disciplinary team of scientists and engineers to develop a really innovative system for remote characterisation of a range of nuclear environments which should lead to big improvements in the decommissioning process." The Consortium, known as TORONE (TOtal characterisation by Remote Observation in Nuclear Environments), is also made up of scientists from Lancaster and Aston Universities, the National Nuclear Laboratory and the UK Atomic Energy Authority. The project is for three years' duration and starts on 1st March 2017. The TORONE group will be working with Sellafield, and Sellafield Ltd Robotics and Autonomous Systems Lead, Dr Paul Mort, said: "Characterisation of materials is of critical importance on the Sellafield site. Improved understanding of what materials are and where they are in our facilities offers considerable benefits when we are planning and carrying out decommissioning activities. "A technology that is cheap and able to be remotely deployed simply and quickly to inspect materials in-situ, will make it safer for humans and give an opportunity to get better data to make more informed decisions. This technology would have far reaching applications on site and has the potential to improve productivity, thereby reducing decommissioning timescales and costs." Professor Francis Livens, Director of The University of Manchester's Dalton Nuclear Institute, said: "As we decommission nuclear facilities around the world, it has become very clear that we have to be smarter, because that allows us to be quicker, cheaper and safer. New ideas, such as these, are vital if we are to do this." Lancaster University Co-Investigator Professor Malcolm Joyce said: "This is an exciting opportunity to integrate the state of the art in radiation detection and robotics." TORONE is led by UoM Principal Investigator Dr Philip Martin (School of Chemical Engineering and Analytical Sciences). Co-Investigators at UoM comprise Prof. Barry Lennox (School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering) and Prof Nick Smith (Royal Society Industry Fellow, Schools of Earth and Environmental Sciences and Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering, seconded from NNL); Lancaster University Co-Investigator Prof. Malcolm Joyce (School of Engineering) and Aston University Co-Investigator Dr Michael Aspinall (School of Life and Health Sciences). Funding of £1.6 million is from the EPSRC through its Remote Sensing in Extreme Environments call.


News Article | November 18, 2016
Site: www.eurekalert.org

A group of scientists from The University of Manchester, the National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) and the UK's synchrotron science facility, Diamond Light Source, has completed research into radioactively contaminated material to gain further understanding around the issue, crucial for the safe and more efficient completion of future decommissioning projects. Safely decommissioning the legacy of radioactively contaminated facilities from nuclear energy and weapons production is one of the greatest challenges of the 21st Century. Current estimates suggest clean-up of the UK's nuclear legacy will cost around £117bn and take decades to complete. The team identified a concrete core taken from the structure of a nuclear fuel cooling pond contaminated with radioactive isotopes of caesium and strontium, located at the former Hunterston A, Magnox nuclear power station in Ayrshire. The core, which was coated and painted, was taken to the Diamond synchrotron for further analysis. Strontium is a high yield nuclear fission product in nuclear reactors and tests showed that it was bonded to the titanium oxide found in the white pigment of the paint on the concrete core's coating. By identifying the specific location of the radioactive isotopes, the research makes future investigation easier and could potentially leads to more efficient decontamination, saving millions of pounds by reducing the volume of our radioactive waste. The work also found that the painted and rubberised under layers were intact and the paint had acted as a sealant for 60 years. However, experiments were conducted to examine what would happen if the contaminated pond water had breached the coating. It showed that the strontium would be bound strongly to the materials in the cement but the caesium was absorbed by clays and iron oxides forming part of the rock fragments in the concrete. Professor Richard Pattrick, leading the project from The University of Manchester's Dalton Nuclear Institute stated: "This work shows the power of the techniques available at the Diamond synchrotron to meet the challenge of cleaning up our nuclear legacy and the University is working very closely with Diamond to develop facilities to support research across the whole of the nuclear industry" Professor Anthony Banford, Chief Technologist for Waste Management and Decommissioning at NNL, commented: "This research project has demonstrated that collaboration with academia, industry and Diamond scientists, utilising the national scientific infrastructure delivers high quality research with industrial relevance and impact." Professor Andrew Harrison, CEO of Diamond Light Source said: "Diamond is very pleased to have facilitated this decommissioning-related research and one major component of our future development plans is to help the UK address the complex and varied challenges of the nuclear industry." The work is published in the Journal of Hazardous Materials - Citation: W R Bower, K Morris, J F W Mosselmans, O RThompson, A W Banford, K Law, R A D Pattrick. 2016. Characterising legacy spent nuclear fuel pond materials using microfocus X-ray absorption spectroscopy. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 317, 97-107 http://dx.


News Article | November 18, 2016
Site: www.sciencedaily.com

A group of scientists from The University of Manchester, the National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) and the UK's synchrotron science facility, Diamond Light Source, has completed research into radioactively contaminated material to gain further understanding around the issue, crucial for the safe and more efficient completion of future decommissioning projects. Safely decommissioning the legacy of radioactively contaminated facilities from nuclear energy and weapons production is one of the greatest challenges of the 21st Century. Current estimates suggest clean-up of the UK's nuclear legacy will cost around £117bn and take decades to complete. The team identified a concrete core taken from the structure of a nuclear fuel cooling pond contaminated with radioactive isotopes of caesium and strontium, located at the former Hunterston A, Magnox nuclear power station in Ayrshire. The core, which was coated and painted, was taken to the Diamond synchrotron for further analysis. Strontium is a high yield nuclear fission product in nuclear reactors and tests showed that it was bonded to the titanium oxide found in the white pigment of the paint on the concrete core's coating. By identifying the specific location of the radioactive isotopes, the research makes future investigation easier and could potentially leads to more efficient decontamination, saving millions of pounds by reducing the volume of our radioactive waste. The work also found that the painted and rubberised under layers were intact and the paint had acted as a sealant for 60 years. However, experiments were conducted to examine what would happen if the contaminated pond water had breached the coating. It showed that the strontium would be bound strongly to the materials in the cement but the caesium was absorbed by clays and iron oxides forming part of the rock fragments in the concrete. Professor Richard Pattrick, leading the project from The University of Manchester's Dalton Nuclear Institute stated: "This work shows the power of the techniques available at the Diamond synchrotron to meet the challenge of cleaning up our nuclear legacy and the University is working very closely with Diamond to develop facilities to support research across the whole of the nuclear industry" Professor Anthony Banford, Chief Technologist for Waste Management and Decommissioning at NNL, commented: "This research project has demonstrated that collaboration with academia, industry and Diamond scientists, utilising the national scientific infrastructure delivers high quality research with industrial relevance and impact." Professor Andrew Harrison, CEO of Diamond Light Source said: "Diamond is very pleased to have facilitated this decommissioning-related research and one major component of our future development plans is to help the UK address the complex and varied challenges of the nuclear industry."


Sinnathamby G.,Queen's University of Belfast | Phillips D.H.,Queen's University of Belfast | Sivakumar V.,Queen's University of Belfast | Paksy A.,National Nuclear Laboratory
Geotechnique | Year: 2014

Desiccation crack formation is a key process that needs to be understood in assessment of landfill capperformance under anticipated future climate change scenarios. The objectives of this study were toexamine: (a) desiccation cracks and impacts that roots may have on their formation and resealing, and(b) their impacts on hydraulic conductivity under anticipated climate change precipitation scenarios.Visual observations, image analysis of thin sections and hydraulic conductivity tests were carried outon cores collected from two large-scale laboratory trial landfill cap models (~80 × 80 × 90 cm)during a year of four simulated seasonal precipitation events. Extensive root growth in the topsoilincreased percolation of water into the subsurface, and after droughts, roots grew deep into lowpermeabilitylayers through major cracks which impeded their resealing. At the end of 1 year, largercracks had lost resealing ability and one single, large, vertical crack made the climate changeprecipitation model cap inefficient. Even though the normal precipitation model had developeddesiccation cracks, its integrity was preserved better than the climate change precipitation model.


Mills R.W.,National Nuclear Laboratory
Nuclear Data Sheets | Year: 2014

The effects of correlations between uncertainties of independent yields are considered to propose a method of including covariance terms within uncertainty propagation for spent fuel inventory calculations and a method outlined to achieve this. The use of the "Total Monte-Carlo" technique for such calculations are investigated for a simple decay example and for the case of a fission pulse calculation and the results discussed. © 2014.


Hill D.A.,National Nuclear Laboratory
ICNC 2015 - International Conference on Nuclear Criticality Safety | Year: 2015

The Working Party on Criticality (WPC) in the United Kingdom (UK) is the non-executive national committee that focuses on criticality safety issues up to, but not including, experimental and in-core power reactor operations. The current membership includes representatives from all relevant UK Site Licensee Companies and Regulators together with a small number of other key companies with interests in this area. In recent times, the primary focus of the committee has been to provide a forum for the discussion and distribution of information of relevance to criticality safety in the UK, particularly the sharing and development of good practice. However, it also serves as a useful forum to (i) disseminate regulatory issues of relevance to criticality safety and facilitate the development of a UK criticality community view on such matters, (ii) guide, promote, coordinate and encourage cooperation on high priority activities of common interest to the UK criticality community, (iii) promote international collaboration in the field of criticality safety, and (iv) provide opportunities for the professional development of criticality safety personnel. This paper gives a detailed overview of the activities of the WPC in the years since the last International Conference on Nuclear Criticality (ICNC), held at Edinburgh in 2011. It undoubtedly continued to be a challenging time for the UK criticality community, not least because of difficulties with the central coordination (and hence funding) of strategic issues in the UK as the nuclear industry has become increasingly fragmented. However, despite these issues, the committee has still been able to fulfil its objectives during that time and successfully supported the UK criticality community. A particular focus of the paper will be the success of the Continued Professional Development workshops and the potential benefits of other countries adopting a similar initiative.


Fryer-Kanssen I.,Lancaster University | Austin J.,National Nuclear Laboratory | Kerridge A.,Lancaster University
Inorganic Chemistry | Year: 2016

The geometrical and electronic structures of Ln[(H2O)9]3+ and [Ln(BTP)3]3+, where Ln = Ce-Lu, have been evaluated at the density functional level of theory using three related exchange-correlation (xc-)functionals. The BHLYP xc-functional was found to be most accurate, and this, along with the B3LYP functional, was used as the basis for topological studies of the electron density via the quantum theory of atoms in molecules (QTAIM). This analysis revealed that, for both sets of complexes, bonding was almost identical across the Ln series and was dominated by ionic interactions. Geometrical and electronic structures of actinide (An = Am, Cm) analogues were evaluated, and [An(H2O)9]3+ + [Ln(BTP)3]3+ → [Ln(H2O)9]3+ + [An(BTP)3]3+ exchange reaction energies were evaluated, revealing Eu ↔ Am and Gd ↔ Cm reactions to favor the An species. Detailed QTAIM analysis of Eu, Gd, Am, and Cm complexes revealed increased covalent character in M-O and M-N bonds when M = An, with this increase being more pronounced in the BTP complexes. This therefore implies a small electronic contribution to An-N bond stability and the experimentally observed selectivity of the BTP ligand for Am and Cm over lanthanides. © 2016 American Chemical Society.

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