Bristol and Sellafield Ltd to build the future of nuclear waste management together
14 March 2013
The University of Bristol and Sellafield Ltd have signed a Memorandum of Understanding reflecting a shared desire to maintain and develop an established relationship.
The agreement was signed following last year’s announcement that a specialist University Link would be established between the Sellafield Ltd Uranium and Reactive Metals Centre of Expertise and uranium technical expertise based in the Bristol Interface Analysis Centre (IAC), with ties to the wider University and key groups at the Universities of Oxford and Birmingham.
The University Link is part of the Sellafield Limited strategy for engaging with the academic sector and represents a total investment of £0.5 million in research at Bristol for the next five years. However thanks to its unique expertise, the IAC has been commissioned to work on an increasing number of activities, sometimes outside the scope of the link. This Memorandum of Understanding will now provide a broader framework for cutting-edge research to be conducted in the energy field, thus allowing the space for the relationship to grow.
Dr Tom Scott, Director of the IAC, said: “We are very proud to have been selected by Sellafield to work with them in this area of critical importance for the organisation and the UK. The University of Bristol has nationally recognised expertise in key areas of science and engineering which will, over the coming years, provide underpinning support for Sellafield Ltd in continuing to deliver safe and effective management of the UK’s radioactive waste.”
Although a great sense of pride was reflected in the signature of this Memorandum with Sellafield Ltd, the University’s expertise in the nuclear field goes beyond collaboration with the Uranium and Reactive Metals CoE, and beyond the IAC.
Dr Scott, along with Professor David Smith from the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Professor Peter Flewitt from the School of Physics, lead a strategic group aiming at developing the nuclear agenda on behalf of the University. This is likely to be one of the biggest scientific challenges of the next decades, in line with Government priorities.
The growing roster of projects includes research into safely extending the lifetime of current nuclear plants and building a solid base of skilled graduates for looking after these plants in the future. Bristol’s approach to this work will be multidisciplinary and would be implemented through research collaborations with special partners such as Sellafield Ltd.
In the UK, Sellafield Ltd is the company responsible for performing the decommissioning and clean-up of the UK's civil nuclear legacy as well as fuel recycling and the management of nuclear waste activities. Sellafield Ltd is owned and operated by Nuclear Management Partners on behalf of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.
The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) is a non-departmental public body created through the Energy Act 2004. It is a strategic authority that owns 19 sites and the associated civil nuclear liabilities and assets of the public sector, previously under the control of the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) and British Nuclear Fuels Ltd (BNFL).
The Interface Analysis Centre is a research group within the School of Physics offering postgraduate study in materials science as well as performing research and providing direct consultancy services in answer to industry needs. Having spun out of the UK Berkeley Nuclear Laboratories in 1989, exotic and nuclear materials of all types - including fuel, reactor materials and waste - have been of key concern for research at the IAC. This focus for research on nuclear materials continues to be a key thread of IAC activity in addition to providing a hub for undertaking multidisciplinary research across various faculties of the University.