PhD Studentship on the Electrochemical Reduction of Plutonium Oxide to Plutonium Metal in Molten Salts

University College London - Department of Chemical Engineering

Duties and Responsibilities

The Department of Chemical Engineering at University College London (UCL) is seeking a student to work on a PhD project on the electrochemical reduction of plutonium oxide to plutonium metal in molten salts.

The project is funded for 4 years, and is in collaboration with AWE.

Key Requirements

The successful applicant must hold a 1st, 2:1 (and/or M.Sc.) in a relevant scientific or engineering discipline (e.g. chemical engineering, chemistry, physics, materials) and be a UK citizen due to funding restrictions. 

Further Details

Applications must be submitted online via the UCL PRiSM portal. If you have any queries regarding the vacancy, please contact Dr Rema Abdulaziz (

Job Description and Person Specification

Summary of Main Job Function

The UK is a leading international centre of excellence in innovative research for national nuclear security through the AWE.  Electrochemical routes for the processing of materials have great potential across a broad range of nuclear applications and the UCL Electrochemical Innovation Lab (EIL) specialises in developing novel processes and technologies. Together, the AWE and EIL present an exciting PhD project at the interface between nuclear materials and electrochemical reactor engineering.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • To carry out experimental research in the field of molten salts electrochemistry
  • To develop and apply new experimental, theoretical and/or modelling research methods to characterise reactor performance and process efficiency   
  • To collaborate within a large research team  
  • To travel and visit collaborators as necessary
  • To spend time at AWE premises
  • To prepare and present research findings to colleagues for review and collaboration purposes
  • To contribute to the drafting and submission of articles to appropriate peer reviewed journals and progress reports as required
  • To contribute to the overall activities of the research team and department as required
  • The successful candidate will carry out any other duties as are within the scope, spirit and purpose of the post as requested by the line manager or Head of Department/Division
  • The successful candidate will actively follow UCL policies including Equal Opportunities and Race Equality policies
  • The successful candidate will maintain an awareness and observation of Fire and Health & Safety Regulations

Person Specification

Knowledge – Including Qualifications

Essential: Have or expected to obtain a first degree in chemical engineering, chemistry, materials science, physics or associated discipline.


  • Knowledge of electrochemical techniques
  • Knowledge of materials characterisation and imaging techniques 
  • Knowledge of modelling techniques 



• Proficiency in conducting scientific experiments.  
• Ability to analyse, develop and solve open-ended research problems.  
• Ability to manage time and work to deadlines.  
• Effective written and verbal communication skills (in English).                


• Ability to present complex information effectively to a range of audiences.  
• Willingness to work at interdisciplinary boundaries.  
• Ability to interact with technical staff efficiently in order to achieve objectives. 


Essential: Prior experimental research experience. 


  • Experimental experience in molten salts, other nuclear fuel processing technologies, or electrochemical technologies, such as fuel cells or batteries. 
  • Experience of characterisation techniques 
  • Experience of imaging techniques 

Personal Qualities


• Commitment to the highest quality research.  
• Ability to take initiative, and make independent contributions to research.  
• Commitment to UCL’s policy of equal opportunities.  
• Ability to interact with others in a friendly and constructive way.  
• Commitment to health & safety and the well-being of the research team.

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