The area of my research is a hot topic and is of great interest to the nuclear industry especially in the wake of the Fukushima accident in Japan which further highlighted a much needed review in improvements that can be made into the safety of nuclear reactors.
One of the reasons why I chose to study nuclear fission was that I was fascinated by the fact that fission reactors produce such significant amounts of power and so cleanly, when you look at the very limited amount of waste that a nuclear power plant creates. I chose Nuclear FiRST because it allows me undertake and create my own PhD to reflect the part of the nuclear fuel cycle I choose to focus on.
The Nuclear FiRST DTC is a cross collaboration between Manchester and Sheffield Universities, both of which have a rich history of notable scientists. I am based at Sheffield University. Both Universities has a number of specialist experimental equipment that enables me to carry out my research effectively.
The aim of my research is to develop a barrier which is applied to fuel rod cladding in nuclear reactors to increase its accident-tolerance in high temperature conditions. The barrier will aim to also reduce the production of hydrogen which led to the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear accident in Japan 2011. Part of my day typically consists of doing experiments and the other consists of carrying out literature reviews on what others have done relating to my research. I also attend a number of lectures throughout the week.
I enjoy the fact that I am able to take responsibility for my own research and to develop the drive and motivation needed to succeed. Another benefit is the access to a wide variety of specialists who have an extensive wealth of experience from academic to industry is an added bonus which aides in experimental research or potential secondments. Attending conferences, external lectures and joining professional bodies enables you to have access to leading academics and industry experts who have extensive knowledge of the field of your research. This enables me to raise the profile of my research.
The area of my research is a hot topic and is of great interest to the nuclear industry especially in the wake of the Fukushima accident in Japan which further highlighted a much needed review in improvements that can be made into the safety of nuclear reactors. The work involved in my research is an international collaboration involving a number of universities and nuclear companies to provide a possible solution for this.
The area of my work falls under safety improvements in nuclear reactors. A number of changes are currently being made to existing and new reactors and if my research is successful, may in the mid-term future be considered for application pending tests and technical hurdles being overcome. However, due to the conservative nature of the nuclear industry and extensive regulatory approval requirements, a ‘game-changer’ from this point of view may be ambitious. From an energy standpoint, the ever-increasing populations in the world set to reach 9.6 billion by 2050* coupled with the demand for producing more electricity cleanly, will mean including nuclear power as part of the energy mix.
My future ambition is to join the nuclear industry on various projects across the UK.
*World Population Prospects: The 2012 Revision, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs