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PhD Studentship: Modelling Radiation Induced Segregation in Advanced Gas Cooled Reactor Stainless Steel Fuel Clad

Coventry University - Centre for Clean Growth and Future Mobility

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Coventry
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students, International Students
Funding amount: £15,609
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 28th September 2021
Closes: 18th October 2021

Coventry University (CU) is inviting applications from suitably-qualified graduates for a fully-funded PhD studentship in the area of modelling radiation enhanced segregation in nuclear steels in collaboration with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and the National Nuclear Laboratory.

The spent nuclear fuel from the UK’s advanced gas cooled reactor (AGR) programme will be stored for several years before final disposal. The stainless steel cladding encasing this fuel is exposed to significant neutron bombardment during its time in a reactor and this may cause microstructural changes which affect its subsequent resistance to intergranular attack and corrosion. Understanding the origin of these microstructural changes and their subsequent impact upon the resilience of the clad is an important part of the management of the stored fuel.

This project will use a combination of atomic scale and microstructure simulation to better understand radiation induced segregation in the clad. These models will capture the complex interaction of point defects with microstructure features using data from density functional theory calculations coupled to longer length scale models. These will help reduced the uncertainty of current models when applied to compositions and conditions relevant to the UK AGR programme. These predictions will be compared directly with data and material characterised from existing and future experimental programmes. The programme is primarily based on modelling and simulation but there will be the opportunity to plan and conduct some parallel irradiation damage experiments to verify the new predictions.

The student will receive training in advanced modelling and simulation methodologies as well as a structured programme of technical and pastoral development activities. They will join a wider cohort of NDA funded students across the UK and have access to collaboration as part of this programme. They will be expected to work closely with leading UK academics and industrial researchers in the NDA and NNL.

For further information about the project or any informal enquiries, please contact Dr David Parfitt (david.parfitt@coventry.ac.uk). Applications may be made at https://pgrplus.coventry.ac.uk.

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