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Fully-Funded PhD Scholarship in UK Radioactive Waste Thermal Treatment and Environmental Monitoring

Sheffield Hallam University - Faculty of Science, Technology and Arts (STA) - Materials Engineering Research Institute (MERI)

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Sheffield
Funding for: UK Students
Funding amount: Covers tuition fees and provides a maintenance stipend
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 17th April 2019
Closes: 2nd June 2019

Closing date 23:59 on 2nd June 2019

Sheffield Hallam University is offering this challenging and exciting PhD project in radioactive waste immobilisation and monitoring. This project is fully-funded by the UK's Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) and is supported by the National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL). The project is also supported by a consortium of leading UK Universities and nuclear industry partners, affiliated with the EPSRC TRANSCEND consortium, and the successful applicant will form part of a strong cohort at Sheffield Hallam University and also as part of TRANSCEND.

A considerable proportion of the UK's radioactive waste inventories arise in a range of physical and chemical forms, with varying degrees of radioactive / toxic hazard. They include contaminated materials and soils, resins, concrete, bricks and sludges. Thermal treatment technologies to form glass / glass-ceramic / glass-composite wasteforms are being considered and developed to treat these wastes. Key issues are the limited ability to (a) monitor off-gas emissions in real-time; (b) control, constrain or inhibit emissions; and (c) quantify cross-contamination between successive melts and hence to assign accurate inventory to each product. In particular, emissions of volatile radionuclides and toxins must be minimised and monitored. Online, real-time monitoring of off-gas emissions, and control of other parameters such as composition of the wasteform, melt temperature / viscosity, melt pool conditions and melt rate, are key developments needed.

This PhD project will address these issues by (i) developing new, more responsive methods for on-line, real-time monitoring of off-gas emissions from thermal treatment of these wastes; and (ii) by developing new methods of controlling, limiting or inhibiting off-gas emissions of volatile compounds during thermal treatment. The student will carry out a thorough desktop survey and investigate a range of potential on-line monitoring technologies, in addition to more established routes. Design and development of new or modified technologies will be carried out at desk-scale then at lab-scale, and the student will down-select candidate technologies for development and testing. Following initial development and testing at lab-scale, candidate technologies will be up-scaled and trialled using inactive and, facility access permitting, active testing facilities. The earlier stages of the project will prepare and train the student with the skills and clearance needed for active area access, and the latter stages of the project will include preparation, execution and data analysis from full-scale inactive / active trials.

Fully-funded scholarships cover tuition fees (at UK/EU levels) and provide a maintenance stipend at Research Council UK levels (£15,009 for 2018/19), for three years of full-time study commencing in October 2019.

Entry Requirements:

  • Applicants should have at least a 2:1 Honours degree and/or a relevant Masters qualification in a relevant subject area.
  • Open to UK national applicants only, owing to requirement from the funding body for only UK nationals and related security requirements for access to active facilities.

How to Apply:

Contact Details:

  • We strongly suggest you to contact the lead academic, Prof. Paul Bingham, in advance to discuss your application.
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