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WARRINGTON, United Kingdom

Agency: GTR | Branch: Innovate UK | Program: | Phase: Collaborative Research & Development | Award Amount: 706.71K | Year: 2015

The proposed work aims to improve the understanding of graphite fracture and irradiation creep behaviour by studying large specimens extracted from a reactor at end-of-service. This uniquely will enable valid fracture and creep data to be determined on material that had seen reactor conditions to high dose and weight loss conditions. Current data are determined on small specimens that are either unirradiated or irradiated in materials test reactors. In particular, the likely life-limiting failure mode is through a process known as keyway root cracking. Here a crack initiates at a sharp re-entrant corner; to study this failure mode in particular requires specimens of sufficient size to give a valid range of notch geometries. In addition, the relaxation of stress by irradiation creep is a key process to mitigate processes at sharp corners. No work on irradiation creep has been performed on corner geometries or at high tensile strain; both of these will be addressed in the current proposal. The results will allow the continued safe operation of reactors, enabling low carbon energy to be produced in the UK.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: H2020 | Program: CSA | Phase: COMPET-09-2014 | Award Amount: 1.01M | Year: 2015

The objective of this proposal is to investigate the necessary demonstration activities in order to mature technologies for nuclear electric propulsion (NEP) systems that is considered one of the key enabler to allow deep exploration and science missions both manned and unmanned. The DEMOCRITOS projects aims to define three Demonstrator Concepts in regards to NEP technologies: 1. Detailed preliminary designs of ground experiments that will allow maturing the necessary technologies in the field of MW level nuclear electric propulsion. The project will investigate the interaction of the major subsystems (thermal, power management, propulsion, structures and conversion) with each other and a (simulated) nuclear core providing high power, in the order of several hundred kilowatts. 2. Nuclear reactor cost studies and simulations to provide feedback to the simulated nuclear core of DEMOCRITOS ground experiments as well as conceptualize the concept of nuclear space reactor and outline the specifications for a Core Demonstrator, including an analysis of the regulatory and safety framework that will be necessary for such a demonstration to take place on the ground. 3. System architecture and robotic studies that will investigate in detail the overall design of a high power nuclear spacecraft, together with a pragmatic strategy for assembly in orbit of such a large structure coupled with a nuclear reactor. Additionally, the project partners will define a programmatic plan, insuring that the demonstrators can be built, tested, and reach the established ambitious objectives, this with a clear organization between international partners and with costs shared in a sustainable way. DEMOCRITOS aims to form a cluster around NEP related technologies by organizing an international workshop and invite external stakeholders to propose ideas for the ground and flight demonstrators or possibly join in the effort to realize the ground demonstrator experiments.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: ICT-23-2014 | Award Amount: 6.38M | Year: 2015

The RoMaNS (Robotic Manipulation for Nuclear Sort and Segregation) project will advance the state of the art in mixed autonomy for tele-manipulation, to solve a challenging and safety-critical sort and segregate industrial problem, driven by urgent market and societal needs. Cleaning up the past half century of nuclear waste, in the UK alone (mostly at the Sellafield site), represents the largest environmental remediation project in the whole of Europe. Most EU countries face related challenges. Nuclear waste must be sorted and segregated, so that low-level waste is placed in low-level storage containers, rather than occupying extremely expensive and resource intensive high-level storage containers and facilities. Many older nuclear sites (>60 years in UK) contain large numbers of legacy storage containers, some of which have contents of mixed contamination levels, and sometimes unknown contents. Several million of these legacy waste containers must now be cut open, investigated, and their contents sorted. This can only be done remotely using robots, because of the high levels of radioactive material. Current state-of-the-art practice in the industry, consists of simple tele-operation (e.g. by joystick or teach-pendant). Such an approach is not viable in the long-term, because it is prohibitively slow for processing the vast quantity of material required. The project will: 1) Develop novel hardware and software solutions for advanced bi-lateral master-slave tele-operation. 2) Develop advanced autonomy methods for highly adaptive automatic grasping and manipulation actions. 3) Combine autonomy and tele-operation methods using state-of-the-art understanding of mixed initiative planning, variable autonomy and shared control approaches. 4) Deliver a TRL 6 demonstration in an industrial plant-representative environment at the UK National Nuclear Lab Workington test facility.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: NFRP-16-2015 | Award Amount: 2.05M | Year: 2015

The overall aim of the project is to create greater security of energy supply and contribute to the security of supply of nuclear fuel for Russian designed pressurized water reactors (VVER) operating in the EU by diversification of fuel sources in the short / medium term and in full compliance with nuclear safety standards. By that, the project addresses the topic NFRP 16 2015. The scientific objectives of the proposed project include increased knowledge concerning the behaviour of the VVER-440 fuel during operation. State-of-the-art methods will be verified against an extensive database, including operating experience from several VVER-440 reactors as well as a number of other reactor designs and a wide range of operating conditions. The ability to accurately predict the fuel behaviour will be improved and thereby also the safety margins. New knowledge as well as identification of needs of technology development and improvements will be created in the fields of technologies for mechanical design, thermo-mechanical fuel rod design, and safety analysis for VVER fuel. In addition to the technological advances, the project will identify the variation in licensing requirements between the authorities in the different countries. Through such identification, it will become clear that standardization would be beneficial and will foster a dialogue between the authorities/regulatory bodies. The new knowledge will be exploited through innovation processes but will also be used for further research and recommendation to policy makers as well as for creating impact among the target groups of the project. Results will be presented to the members of the VVER community, i.e. the utilities, universities and other organizations with close links to the nuclear energy industry. Articles and papers presenting the work and the results of the project will be targeted for nuclear industry, magazines and conferences.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: Fission-2012-2.3.1 | Award Amount: 10.27M | Year: 2013

Nuclear power plays a key role in limiting EUs greenhouse gases emissions, and makes an important contribution to improve European Unions independence, security and diversity of energy supply. However, its social acceptance is closely linked to an enhanced safety in the management of long-lived radioactive waste contributing to resource efficiency and cost-effectiveness of this energy and ensuring a robust and socially acceptable system of protection of man and environment. Among the different strategies, partitioning and transmutation (P&T) allows a reduction of the amount, the radiotoxicity and the thermal power of these wastes, leading to an optimal use of geological repository sites. In line with the Strategic Research Agenda of SNE-TP, the SACSESS collaborative project will provide a structured framework to enhance the fuel cycle safety associated to P&T. In addition, safety studies will be performed for each selected process to identify weak points to be studied further. These data will be integrated to optimise flowsheets and process operation conditions. A training and education programme will be implemented in close collaboration with other European initiatives, addressing safety issues of nuclear energy industry. The multidisciplinary consortium composed of European universities, nuclear research bodies, TSOs and industrial stakeholders will generate fundamental safety improvements on the future design of an Advanced Processing Unit. SACSESS will thus be an essential contribution to the demonstration of the potential benefits of actinide partitioning to the global safety of the long-lived waste management.

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