Fully-Funded PhD Scholarship: Understanding Cold Cap - Glass Melt Migration in Radioactive Waste Glass Melting

Sheffield Hallam University - Faculty of Arts, Computing, Engineering and Sciences (ACES) - Materials Engineering Research Institute (MERI)

Closing date 12 noon on 7th May 2018.

This exciting PhD project is co-funded by Sheffield Hallam University and the US Department of Energy, and is supported by US National Laboratories and Universities. The project will support decommissioning and clean-up of the US nuclear site at Hanford, generating world-leading science and innovative solutions to real-world problems.

The student will spend up to 3 months at US partner laboratories, learning from multidisciplinary experts and undertaking nuclear site visits. Further interactions with the nuclear community will be enabled through the team’s collaborations (UK, US, France, India, Japan). The student will receive professional development, media training, and public engagement experience.

At the US Hanford nuclear site, two Waste Treatment Plants (WTPs) under construction will process radioactive waste by vitrification to form glass. Baseline Joule-Heated Ceramic Melters contain a pool of molten glass with waste fed onto the top of the melt - the “cold cap”. Foaming during melting can cause processing issues. Oxidation states of key elements, including Fe, Cr, Mn, Ni, Mo, and Zr have not yet been considered, and can affect glass and cold cap behaviour and performance and foaming. This project will study the behaviour and oxidation state of these key elements in simulated Hanford glasses and cold caps, and their interfaces, to inform process parameters for the WTP's. Advanced spectroscopic techniques including Mössbauer spectroscopy, X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS), and X-Ray Powder Diffraction (XPDF) will be used to study these materials their structure. The student will conduct literature reviews and prepare simulated radioactive waste glasses and cold caps, and will study simulated materials from inactive trials that undertaken by the US partners. The student will use lab-based techniques and synchrotron-based bulk and microfocus XAS and XPDF.

This project is timely and will support optimisation of US WTP vitrification processes, directly supporting Hanford decommissioning.

Applicants should email a postgraduate application form (https://www.shu.ac.uk/study-here/how-to-apply/postgraduate/application-form) and a copy of their CV to Dr. Paul Bingham (p.a.bingham@shu.ac.uk) before 12 noon on 7th May 2018. Also direct all informal enquiries to Dr. Bingham.

The application form requests a 1500-word research proposal. Use this to outline:

  1. Why you are interested in doing PhD research on this topic.
  2. How your skills and experience to date (including your undergraduate and/or masters dissertation, if relevant) prepare you to embark on the project.
  3. Any challenges that you foresee in conducting the research and how you might approach or solve them.

Fully-funded scholarships cover tuition fees (at UK/EU levels) and provide a maintenance stipend at Research Council UK levels (£14,553 for 2017/18) for three years of full-time study commencing in September 2018.

  • All applicants should hold a strong undergraduate degree (2.1 or above) and/or a relevant masters qualification (or expectation of the same).
  • Open to UK/EU and international applicants. However, scholarships pay fees at UK/EU levels only, and international students must provide the difference between UK/EU and international fees from another funding source.
  • International students must provide evidence that they meet the minimum IELTS score of 7.0 or above, with at least 6.5 in each component or equivalent (dated within last 2 years).
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Type / Role:

PhD

Location(s):

Northern England