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PhD Studentship - In Situ Gas Analysis in Interim Spent Fuel Containers

The University of Manchester

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Manchester
Funding for: UK Students
Funding amount: Not Specified
Hours: Full Time, Part Time
Placed On: 16th July 2021
Closes: 30th September 2021

Lead Supervisor

Prof Philip Martin


This project is funded by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) and in collaboration with scientists and engineers at the National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL). The aim is to develop methods to determine state of the spent fuel by remotely probing them with lasers. The student will also be part of the University CDT (Centre for Doctoral Training) GREEN (Growing skills for reliable economic energy from nuclear) and will thus be part of a larger cohort with specific skills training.

Interim dry storage is being proposed or considered for a large part of the UK’s spent fuel inventory. The fuel will be stored for several decades pending disposal in a geological repository. At current, there are few options being considered for monitoring the spent fuel during this interim storage, and no mature monitoring technology that would avoid penetration of containment. This project will investigate the potential for a combined LIBS and Raman approach to be used to this end. The spectra and limit of detection of several gases of interest will be analysed in inert gas: • Xenon and Krypton; to assess viability for fuel cladding failure during storage. (LIBS) • Hydrogen and oxygen; to assess viability for water vapour detection during storage. (Raman) • Nitrogen/air; to assess viability for container failure during storage. (Raman) This will determine if LIBS can detect these signature gases at practicable levels for deployment of the technique in a dry storage container. The project will also assess options for integrating LIBS/Raman into storage container design, including the use of optical windows, or embedded fibre optics. These data will determine if the use of LIBS in dry storage containers can reach sufficient TRL to be considered for deployment.

For further information about the project or any informal enquiries, please contact Professor Philip Martin ( Please contact the admissions team at with any queries you may have regarding the application process or funding.  Some information about the application process can be found at

Industrial Links

The PhD starting in October 2021 is funded by an Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) studentship award with support from the National Nuclear Laboratory. This is a 4-year studentship that will cover all tuition fees for the duration of the PhD and provide a tax-free stipend to cover living costs (exact amount to be confirmed). The funding will cover travel and related costs linked to the research project. Applicants should meet criteria for UKRI-funded studentships.

Closing date for applications

30 September 2021 or until award is made

Contact for project specific enquiries

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