University nuclear research in the UK PDF Print E-mail

University Research Groups

Research Consortia
AberdeenHullOpen UniversityDIAMOND
BathImperial College LondonSheffieldFission DTC
BirminghamKingston University, London
Nuclear Eng Doc

University of Aberdeen

Construction and Remediation Research Group, Chemistry, School of Natural and Physical Sciences

Aberdeen has a long history of research excellence in cement science Current activities include fundamental studies of cement hydration and durability, and applications to waste management, including nuclear decommissioning. Work in this theme also exploits our wide range of materials characterisation facilities.

Further details can be found at

University of Bath

Nuclear Energy Group

The Nuclear Materials Group at the University of Bath core competencies are in nuclear materials, especially graphite. To provide a wider range of services the Group has been expanded to include expertise in decommissioning Retrieving data. Wait a few seconds and try to cut or copy again., mechanical design and energy systems analysis. We are now able to offer a more comprehensive service under a new banner.

Further details can be found at

University of Birmingham

The Birmingham Centre for Nuclear Education and Research

The Birmingham Centre for Nuclear Education and Research was launched in 2010 and provides the investment and infrastructure to grow the nuclear expertise and capacity that has existed at Birmingham for over 50 years.

The University of Birmingham is making a significant new investment in the area of Nuclear Engineering, Waste Management and Decommissioning. This is timed to support the UK’s investment in new construction in the Nuclear Power sector, the need to manage the legacy waste, the decommissioning of the current generation power stations and the tremendous challenges in developing the next generation nuclear facilities

Further details can be found at their website

University of Bristol

Systems Performance Centre

The Systems Performance Centre (SPC) is a Research Alliance between the University of Bristol and British Energy. The purpose of the SPC is to foster and deliver strategic research and training, serving British Energy, the nuclear community and beyond. The SPC provides underpinning skills and expertise to deliver systems-based solutions:

  • to help maintain safety
  • to optimise operational performance of nuclear power plant and
  • to support any future nuclear generation initiatives.

The Systems Performance Centre is a strategic research alliance between British Energy (BE) and the University of Bristol (UoB). It was formally launched in May 2007. The foundations to the Alliance are long-standing and successful collaborations between British Energy and the Solids Mechanics Group and Safety Systems Research Centre in the Faculty of Engineering at Bristol. The overriding purpose of the Centre is to deliver strategic research, ranging from monitoring and understanding the behaviour of nuclear plant, to high-integrity engineering of safety-critical systems, and studies improving operational management and performance. Additional objectives include the development/maintenance of specialist teams in key skill areas related to the nuclear sector and provision of training and recruitment opportunities.

Further details are available from the website

Safety Systems Research Centre

The Safety Systems Research Centre is a research centre established in 1995. It conducts research into the challenges of safe and reliable design, operation and maintenance of computer-based systems. The SSRC has a broad appreciation of safety issues across various industry sectors such as nuclear, naval and aviation industries. These safety issues are tackled with novel holistic methods for satisfying real industry dependability requirements.

Further details are available from the website

University of Cambridge

Department of Earth Sciences

Research is focussed on the question of material durability in nuclear waste disposal. The two major issues are internal attack of the material by radioactive decay and external attack by repository groundwater. Further details can be found at the website or by emailing Dr Ian Farnan This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Department of Engineering

Research in Nuclear Engineering is based in the Computational Design Group within the Engineering Design Centre. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , head of the Computational Design Group has longstanding interests in reactor core design and in-core fuel management and optimization.

An area of active current interest is the design of thorium-fueled accelerator-driven subcritical reactors (ADSRs) for power generation. This work is currently part funded by a grant from EPSRC through which a variety of possible thorium ADSR configurations are being evaluated both from a traditional engineering design perspective and from a technology assessment perspective, with the latter work being led by This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it of the Judge Business School. This work contributes to a new semi-formal network of activity known as the ThorEA Association (

Cardiff University

Geoenvironmental Research Centre, School of Engineering

The group undertakes fundamental and applied research in the area of deep geological disposal of nuclear waste and is a designated Centre of Excellence by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Further details are available at the website

Hull University

Department of Engineering

Most of the activity in nuclear research is centred within the Materials and Process Performance Group. At present, the main thrust is the effectiveness of UK gas-cooled nuclear reactor core designs, particularly materials performance and the fracture and functionality of core components to support life extension using various modelling and analytical techniques. Further details can be found at

The Department of Engineering also undertakes a range of activities promoting environmental sustainability linked to advanced manufacturing and engineering with a significant proportion being interdisciplinary in nature. A key underlying principle of our work is the inter-relationship of design, manufacturing, materials and engineering analysis and the application to real world problems. The activity involves design of new systems in manufacturing, through the manufacture of specialist equipment, to review and optimisation of manufacturing systems. The activity also involves the development of new materials, e.g. polymeric composites, to the analysis of the materials performance, particularly in the nuclear industry, with adding value to the engineering plant and reducing the carbon footprint. Effort is also being devoted to policy formulation using a systems approach for materials treatment, both in terms of Energy for Waste applications and also radioactive materials treatment, waste minimisation and decommissioning. In particular, the effect of risk assessment methodology has on environmental and socio-technical decision-making; for example, using systems thinking techniques to inform policy of nuclear waste disposal and evaluate both subjective risks felt by the public as well as the “true†objective hazards (potential for harm) and risk to the public. One aspect of this line of investigation examines the design of products specifically for Energy for Waste installations.

Further information can be obtained from Dr Gareth Neighbour by emailing This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Imperial College London

Centre for Nuclear Engineering

The Centre brings together a number of disciplines including mechanical, chemical and materials engineering, modelling and radio ecology to create one of the most comprehensive research and teaching groups dedicated to nuclear engineering and science.

Further Details can be found at or by emailing This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Kingston University, London

Complex Flow Systems Research Group, Faculty of Engineering

The group conducts multi-disciplinary researches on a wide range of topic including aerodynamics, thermo-fluids, energy systems and granular flow. Its work is characterised by the diversity in methodology and approach: theoretical, simulation and modelling and analysis/experiment.

One active research area is the applciation of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) for a Gen-IV thermodynamics study in collaboration with researchers from China. Two projects have been completed on numerical simulation of supercritical pressurised water flow inside a single horizontal tube and flow over a 3x3 bundle.

Fuirther details can be found at or by emailing Dr Yufeng Yao This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it '; document.write( '' ); document.write( addy_text40568 ); document.write( '<\/a>' ); //-->\n This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Lancaster University

Control and Instrumentation Research Group, Department of Engineering

The Control and Instrumentation Research Group at Lancaster in the UK is a multidisciplinary team of engineering researchers working on the combination of instrumentation and generic control in the context of a broad spectrum of autonomous platforms. Our research is almost entirely collaborative with the engineering sector and other leading academic institutions around the world. Recently, we have delivered solutions to nuclear, medical, aerospace, construction and public sector organisations. We are always interested in bright people and organisations who want to complement our research activities and there are often opportunities in the C&I; team.

Further information about the Control and Instrumentation Research Group at Lancaster University can be found at their website or by emailing Professor Malcolm Joyce This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Loughborough University

Environmental Radiochemistry Research Group, Department of Chemistry

Loughborough University Chemistry Department has a fully-licensed laboratory for conducting experiments with open sources of radioactivity. The laboratory can handle activity up to the GBq level.

Much of the research is concerned with environmental chemodynamics and concentrates on groundwater and surface water chemistry, particularly on pollutant speciation and mobility through the terrestrial environment. The research work is largely, but not exclusively, centred on the Geochemistry of nuclear waste disposal which, by necessity, requires an interdisciplinary approach to solve this world-wide problem. Much of this research concentrates on:

Water chemistry (speciation, stability constants, kinetics, modelling)
Surface interactions (metal and metal-complex interactions with mineral and clay surfaces in the presence and absence of humic materials)
Mobility of aqueous species
Predictive computer modelling
Land remediation.

Much of this research work is carried out in collaboration with UK and European scientists through EC sponsorship. The Group has an International research reputation and collaborates with scientists in many EC and non EC countries.

For further details contact Dr Nick Evans, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or visit

University of Manchester

Dalton Nuclear Group

Manchester offers a broad portfolio of capabilities in the field of nuclear research ranging from engineering and physical sciences to the humanities. Further details are available from or by emailing Dr John Roberts This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , the External Liaison Manager

The Open University

Materials Engineering

Materials Engineering at The Open University undertakes nuclear-related research in several areas, including the determination of residual stresses in power plant welds, evaluation of creep properties and performance of high-temperature materials for nuclear plant, the micromechanics of deformation of zirconium alloys, and studies of the formation of zirconium oxide during corrosion in light water reactors. We are partners in the KNOO an MUZIC consortia for research in nuclear materials. More information can be found at

University of Sheffield

Immobilisation Science Laboratory

The Immobilisation Science Laboratory (ISL) was established in 2001 as a partnership between the Department of Engineering Materials at The University of Sheffield and BNFL’s Research and Technology Division. Since then we have extended our business research portfolio to include work with Nexia Solutions as well as Nirex, UKAEA and AWE. We work closely with the Nuclear Decommissioning Agency and have established contacts throughout Europe, through our involvement in the Framework VI integrated Project NF-Pro and the USA through exchange visits to US National Laboratories. We are also regularly audited by an International Advisory Panel comprised of notable members of the radioactive waste research community in both Europe and the USA.

The ISL has laboratories dedicated to the study of glass, ceramic and cement wasteforms for the immobilisation of both radioactive and toxic wastes. Only simulant wasteforms are studied at Sheffield with active work carried out at the BTC in Sellafield. However, a small laboratory is equipped to deal with natural uranium isotopes. A range of furnaces is available for fabrication of simulant glass and ceramic wasteforms. A variety of mixing equipment in the Composite Cements Laboratory, together with three humidity and temperature controlled cabinets provides a range of options for preparing and curing samples of different types of cement to be studied.

Once the simulant wasteforms have been manufactured their properties can be evaluated using a wide variety of techniques available within the Department. These include scanning and transmission electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction, thermal analysis and isothermal calorimetry. Chemical analysis is also possible to determine the exact composition of the wasteform. ISL research personnel are also experienced in the application of standard testing protocols (e.g. ASTM, MCC1 and PCT tests) for wasteform durability.

Further details about the ISL can be found at their website 


The DIAMOND (Decommissioning, Immobilisation and Management of Nuclear waste for Disposal) University research consortium was formed in response to a call for proposals issued in August 2007 by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council on the topic of Nuclear Waste Management and Decommissioning. Led by the University of Leeds, the consortium members include Imperial College London, Loughborough University, University of Manchester, University of Sheffield and University College London.Further details can be found at or by emailing the consortium Manager Dr Jim Young This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Doctoral Training Centre for Nuclear Fission Research, Science and Technology (Nuclear FiRST)

Nuclear FiRST aims to underpin UK Energy and Defence strategy by addressing a growing doctoral skills gap in nuclear fission science and engineering. We offer an exciting and interdisciplinary approach to postgraduate research training, combining a Masters level foundation year with a three year Doctoral level thesis project. This is supplemented by training in professional skills and project placements in industry or research institutes in the UK and overseas. Further details can be found at


KNOO (Keeping the Nuclear Option Open) is a four-year initiative set-up to address the challenges related to increasing the safety, reliability and sustainability of nuclear power. Through collaboration between the key industrial and governmental stakeholders and international partners, KNOO has been established to maintain and develop skills relevant to nuclear power generation. Funded through the “Towards a Sustainable Energy Economy Programme” of Research Councils UK, it represents the single largest commitment to fission reactor research in the United Kingdom for more than thirty years. Further details can be found at or by emailing the KNOO Manager Dr John Roberts This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Nuclear Engineering Doctorate Programme

The primary objective of the Nuclear EngD is to provide outstanding young nuclear Research Engineers with intensive, broadly based training in collaboration with industrial companies so that they are equipped to take up senior roles within the nuclear industry. In addition to obtaining a high quality qualification the Research Engineers will gain experience of working in an industrial research and development environment. This four year programme involves the Research Engineer being based within an industrial company in the UK.

Further details for prospective students are available at
and for industry at

or email the Eng Doc Programme Manager Dr Andy Clarke This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Sustainability Assessment of Nuclear Power: An Integrated Approach (SPRIng) is a consortium project funded by EPSRC and ESRC.

The overall aim of the project is to develop an integrated decision-support framework for assessing the sustainability of nuclear power relative to other energy options (fossil fuels and renewables), considering both energy supply and demand.

The main deliverables of the project are:

  • A multi-criteria decision-support framework for sustainability assessment of energy options;
  • Sustainability assessments of the nuclear option within an integrated energy system; and
  • Engagement with and communication of the results of research to relevant stakeholders.
For further information visit the website at or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it