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Reference Number EP/T011297/1
Title Sim-Fuel and Alpha-Active Material Manufacturing and Characterisation Capability
Status Started
Energy Categories NUCLEAR FISSION and FUSION (Nuclear Fission, Nuclear supporting technologies) 100%;
Research Types Basic and strategic applied research 100%
Science and Technology Fields PHYSICAL SCIENCES AND MATHEMATICS (Physics) 30%;
PHYSICAL SCIENCES AND MATHEMATICS (Metallurgy and Materials) 50%;
ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY (Mechanical, Aeronautical and Manufacturing Engineering) 20%;
UKERC Cross Cutting Characterisation Not Cross-cutting 100%
Principal Investigator Professor TJ Abram
No email address given
Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering
University of Manchester
Award Type Standard
Funding Source EPSRC
Start Date 01 November 2019
End Date 31 May 2023
Duration 43 months
Total Grant Value £5,523,077
Industrial Sectors Energy
Region North West
Programme National Nuclear Users Facility
Investigators Principal Investigator Professor TJ Abram , Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering, University of Manchester (99.998%)
  Other Investigator Dr R Harrison , Engineering and Physical Sciences, University of Manchester (0.001%)
Dr J Turner , Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering, University of Manchester (0.001%)
Web Site
Abstract The aim of this proposal is to provide key equipment that will deliver an internationally-unique open-access academic capability to manufacture, irradiate, and examine the pre- and post-irradiation characteristics of a range of alpha-active radioactive materials containing uranium, thorium, and plutonium and other trans-uranic elements. This equipment will be pivotal in linking together around 35M of existing nuclear research infrastructure at the University of Manchester in order to fully realise their capabilities to explore a wide range of materials that are of critical importance to the nuclear sector.The specific equipment requested is:1. a Focussed Ion Beam Scanning Electron Microscope;2. a Scanning/Transmission Electron Microscope; and3. a plutonium-active inert-atmosphere glove-box for sample preparation.Hitherto, the capability to manufacture, irradiate, and characterise uranium and plutonium containing materials has only been available within large government-owned national laboratory facilities. Whilst such facilities remain vital for research into very highly active samples and materials containing large quantities of trans-uranic elements, the availability of an academic capability that is able to work with kg-quantities of uranium and gram-quantities of plutonium will provide an opportunity for a far wider range of access, and the means to undertake highly detailed and insightful studies at costs and time-scales that are simply not possible within larger nuclear-licensed facilities.The range of science and technology impacts enabled by the new equipment cover the full spectrum of the nuclear fuel cycle, and include: improved understanding of the performance of existing nuclear fuels to improve safety; the development of new fuel materials for existing and next-generation reactors; the production of representative surrogate irradiated fuels (i.e. SimFuels) to assist in the development of new recycle technologies for spent fuel; improved understanding of the behaviour of U and TRU-bearing materials within environmental samples; and improved understanding and development of materials to facilitate the disposal of radioactive wastes (e.g. immobilisation matrix materials). Researchers from all of these communities will be encouraged to access the internationally-leading capability that the new equipment provides. In addition to creating a major body of knowledge on the performance of alpha-emitting radioactive materials for the variety of different applications mentioned above, the facilities will play a major role in providing training and education in the safe handling of alpha-active materials. This will provide a new generation of post-doctoral researchers with a range of skills that will be vital in ensuring the successful implementation of the Government's nuclear strategy in the coming decades
Publications (none)
Final Report (none)
Added to Database 07/10/21