Nuclear waste

LeedsUniversity is to head a consortium that aims to tackle the management and disposal of UK nuclear waste. There are currently 20 nuclear sites and facilities that are part of the UK’s civil nuclear programme, which is now managed by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA). The estimated cost of decommissioning the sites stands at around £70bn.

The Decommissioning, Immobilisation and Management of Nuclear wastes for Disposal (DIAMOND) consortium is a four-year programme that has already received £4.2m of funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. Additional support will come from the universities of Manchester, Sheffield and Imperial College London.

Areas covered by the programme include legacy waste; site termination; contaminant migration; and materials design and performance. Researchers will work closely with the NDA and stakeholders within the nuclear industry.

LeedsUniversity’s Simon Brigg said: ‘A key priority is to address a growing EU-wide skills gap in the nuclear research field, through training the next generation of nuclear waste specialists.’

He added: ‘The consortium is looking for industrial partners and is also offering PhD and postdoctoral research opportunities at all member institutions.’